All of us at the Weinberger Mediation Center are wishing you peace throughout the holiday season. Whether you are in the middle of a divorce or are just beginning to think about separating, keeping things peaceful is one of the best things you can do for your own mental health. It is even more important if you have children.
Protecting children from parental conflict is important for all types of families, not just those going through divorce. While a certain degree of family conflict is normal, research shows that children who are exposed to prolonged conflict between their parents are at heightened risk of emotional and behavioral issues, such as poor concentration, depression, and anxiety. Coping with the pandemic over the past couple of years has been especially challenging for many families. The holiday season, while generally a happy time, is also well-known to be stressful. It is no surprise then, that many families are struggling with conflict.
Children and Divorce: Protecting Mental Health
Increased parental conflict is an especially pronounced issue for families going through divorce or separation. In January of 2021, yet another study confirmed this. The Research and Education Advancing Children’s Health (REACH) Institute, at Arizona State University, found that when divorced or separated parents engage in conflict, their children experience fear of abandonment. Even worse, this feeling is not necessarily transitory; it can predict future mental health problems. Strong relationships between children and parents, which generally act as a buffer against childhood stress, did not, in this study, mediate the effects of parental conflict. In fact, the study found that children who had strong relationships with their fathers were especially likely to experience mental health issues.
Choosing Mediation for Peace
Clearly parents would do well to make the pursuit of peace one of their top resolutions for the New Year. Mediation is one of the best ways to accomplish this. In the coming months, we will be reviewing some basics of divorce mediation. Along the way we will focus on keeping things peaceful and protecting the mental health of everyone in the family.
Divorce will always be challenging, but it does not have to be devastating. It can, in fact, pave the way for a brighter future for everyone. This future can start all the sooner when both spouses approach the divorce process with mutual respect and consideration.
If you are one of those lucky couples who are confident that you will be able to separate as friends and present a united front to your children, you are probably already pursuing mediation or at least considering it. If, on the other hand, you are doubting that you and your difficult soon-to-be-ex would make good candidates for mediation, you may want to reconsider that. Ultimately the process is not going to work for everyone. We will have plenty of tips, however, to help high conflict couples navigate their way through. If you are willing to put in the effort, there is a good chance of success.
Here’s to a wonderful new start. Happy New Year!
If you are ready to discuss mediation with one of our trained and experienced divorce mediators, contact us today for an initial consultation.