When you make the decision to end your marriage, many people will feel the impact, especially your children. No matter how distressed, angry or downright shattered you and your spouse may be about the divorce itself, your first priority must be the welfare of your kids and how they will deal with the family breakup going forward.
You might view mediation as the first of many steps you can take to help reduce the impact of divorce on your children.
Coping with changes
Children of divorcing parents face many new issues. They will move back and forth between two homes. They may have to attend a new school and make new friends to replace those they lost. They will likely go through a grieving period following the family breakup and may even feel they were somehow responsible for the divorce, especially if they overhear their parents arguing about them. Young children may go through crying spells, endure night terrors and feel insecure, while older children may become rebellious or go the opposite direction and withdraw from the family.
Neither you nor your spouse will want to add further stress to your children’s lives, and a bitter, drawn-out court proceeding would not help to bolster peace and harmony. Mediation, on the other hand, typically occurs in private. It is primarily a negotiation process that you can handle with a clear head and a responsible attitude. Many couples choose this path because there is less confrontation; it is simply a more civilized approach to divorce and easier on the children. Studies have shown that when there is minimal parental conflict, children have fewer post-divorce adjustment problems.
You cannot change the past, but you can choose how you and the other parent can manage the next chapter in your lives, without court interference. Show your children they will always have your love and support, and help them grow into happy, responsible adults. Divorce mediation may be a good place to start.