Parents contemplating divorce are always concerned that the divorce will negatively impact their children. Many of my clients tell me that they vividly recall living through their parents horrible divorce and don’t want to put their children through a similar experience.
In the Collaborative Divorce process our paramount concern is the children. We say that we take the children out of the middle and place them in the center! We have the divorce coaches who can work with the parents to help them to appreciate how their behavior affects the children and to learn how to keep the children in the center. We also can bring in a child specialist, if need be, who will meet with the child and report back to the parents.
However there is good news here – psychologists who have researched the effect of divorce on children over the years conclude that “it’s not the divorce that negatively impacts children – it’s the conflict between a mother and father during the divorce that negatively impacts children”. So, parents – you have much control over whether or not your children will be negatively impacted by your divorce.
I urge you to be mindful of the following:
Avoid conflict with your spouse. To do this you must select the right process for your divorce. I recommend the Collaborative Divorce process as in this process the best interests of the children are paramount.
Place the needs of the children as a priority. When you think about settlement in terms of “what’s best for my children” you’re placing yourself in a frame of mind that allows you and your spouse to cooperate. You are thinking of you and your spouse together as parents continuing to care for your children rather than individuals seeking a victory.
Be aware of sensitive to your spouse’s needs. This can be challenging however you will never reach agreement unless some of your spouse’s needs are met (in addition to your needs). If you can negotiate with a win-win solution in mind you are beginning to foster a cooperative spirit which often will allow you to reach a durable resolution in a cost efficient manner.
If you can eliminate conflict with your spouse your children will be thankful!