Families with Children
However the collaborative process holds the most value for families and parents concerned about minimizing the effects of divorce on children. Collaborative Divorce is for parents who want to protect their children from the emotional damage of divorce. Children are the innocent victims of separation and divorce. The inherent stress, conflict and uncertainty present major risk factors for childhood development. Ironically, as much as parents say they want what is best for their children, many are challenged with working together collaboratively to reach an agreement that serves the best interests of their children. The collaborative team can help the parties maintain focus on the children, and other identified areas of importance.
Collaborative Divorce offers parents an opportunity to begin to establish their post-divorce parenting relationship by taking charge of the divorce process from the very outset with the help of a Collaborative team
By understanding each other’s priority interests and goals and working through decisions together to solve problems, parents begin to lay the foundation for effective co-parenting following the divorce, thereby minimizing their children’s exposure to conflict and the risk of negative outcome.
During the collaborative process, parents are helped to think through every aspect of their divorce as it affects their children. Together with the neutral facilitator, parents formulate a blueprint for post-divorce time-sharing and decision-making. Through this process, parents envision ways to create an emotionally safe and secure environment for the children in both of their homes to create and preserve positive childhood memories. Parents learn how to recognize and respond to behaviors and signs of anxiety that signify the need for more intervention. Parents also prepare for navigating new territory, such as integrating new relationships into their children’s lives. In these and other ways, Collaborative Divorce is particularly effective at responding to the needs of the family via its child-centered approach.
10 Tips for Talking to Children about Divorce:
- Recognize that parenting is forever.
- Be vigilant about protecting your children from witnessing conflict and intense emotionality.
- Present the narrative to your children together.
- Agree on a divorce narrative that gives your children an explanation that makes sense to them.
- Tailor your language to your child’s developmental level.
- Preserve your children’s relationships with both parents; there are no good guys and bad guys.
- Emphasize your love for your children, permanence in their lives and your commitment to parent together.
- Emphasize that divorce has to do with grown-up problems and that children are not to blame.
- Be concrete with your children about what aspects of their lives will stay the same and what will change.
- Use the opportunity to teach your children life lessons about change and resilience.