I met Dr. Carolyn King this morning, a child and adolescent psychiatrist with Pine Rest in Grand Rapids. We talked about the fact that when done well, divorce doesn’t have to be devastating for children. It’s really too bad that, by default, divorcing families are often thrust into an adversarial legal system that focuses more on winning than growing and healing through the divorce process. She has an inspiring personal story, evidencing that she walks the path of peace and doesn’t just talk about it. Following our meeting, she sent a link to a “Facts for Families” publication dealing with children and divorce. It contains the following statement:
“Children will do best if they know that their mother and father will still be their parents and remain involved with them even though the marriage is ending and the parents won’t live together. Long custody disputes or pressure on a child to “choose” sides can be particularly harmful for the youngster and can add to the damage of the divorce. Research shows that children do best when parents can cooperate on behalf of the child.”
Assisting parents in cooperating with one another is the goal of the Collaborative Process and Mediation. If you are facing divorce, with all the accompanying fears, distrust and anger, you and your spouse can still process through such challenging emotions without destroying one another–and thereby your children. It’s just a matter of connecting up with the right resources. Learn all you can about litigation, mediation and the Collaborative process. Then ask, which one would allow us to achieve the goals identified by the Am. Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry? This organization’s full fact sheet can be found at http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/children_and_divorce.
Wishing you wisdom,
Deborah Bennett Berecz
Collaborative Lawyer and Mediator
Grand Rapids and St. Joseph, MI