“Jenny, I am so unhappy. I’ve tried and tried to make it work with John, but nothing gets better. No matter what house we buy or trips we take or books we read—we’re just back to the same bad place. But, I’m so afraid of divorce. Especially for the kids. Is staying together better for them? Is there such a thing as child-friendly divorce?”
Trauma of Divorce for Children
Parents worry about the effect of divorce on their children for good reason. Psych Central, an online counseling service, quotes the National Institutes of Health as saying that divorce is traumatic and that “The sense of vulnerability and not being in control of significant life changes, as well as losing a parent even if partially, could lead a child to become overwhelmed to the point of not being able to cope.”
This trauma of divorce often leads children to suffer in their physical and emotional health, school performance, and interpersonal relationships—but it doesn’t have to.
Key to reducing divorce trauma is giving children a voice. Child Inclusive Mediation does just that.
Reducing Trauma/Making Divorce Child-Friendly
Child Inclusive Mediation utilizes the services of a trained Child Consultant to talk with the children about:
• the impact of the parents’ relationship on the children,
• what they fear and what they hope for,
• what they understand and questions they have
Rather than feeling the victim of forces beyond their control, children are brought into the process—in an informal, supportive, protected way. This ability to speak significantly lessens the trauma as children feel valued and heard.
The Consultant will never take a position that they are the “expert” on your children. Parents are the experts on their children. At the same time, children often become very protective of parents during divorce. They know how hard divorce is—and they don’t want to make it harder. So, they stay silent. Talking with a compassionate, trained third party helps children express what they otherwise bury.
The Child Consultant, also a trained mediator, then sits with the parents and their mediator as they craft a parenting plan. The Consultant offers input to assist parents in shaping their parenting plan according to their children’s developmental stages and considering their children’s input. While parents remain fully in control of the decisions—they do so in a more informed, child-inclusive way. This helps them work with the mediator to craft a plan that meets the needs of both children and parents.
This opportunity to speak into the process—in a protected, informal way—reduces divorce trauma for children. Instead of feeling out-of-control, they are included and their desires honored.
For More Information
If you would like more information on Child Inclusive Divorce, click here or call 317-793-0825. We look forward to serving you.
Photo by Charles Deluvio