Though divorce is undoubtedly difficult for parents to negotiate together, it can be even harder for children, no matter their ages. Rather than going through the process of litigation, which can become combative, the process of mediation to put together a parenting plan in the best interest of the child or children can be mutually beneficial for all involved. Massachusetts parents interested in helping children emotionally navigate divorce may benefit from sitting down with a mediator.
Extensive psychological studies have been performed lately with regard to the effects of divorce upon families. In 2015, researchers at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom found that mediation with respect to cultural norms around the genders of the parents can affect how parenting plans are developed. Mediation of discussions can be improved with statements of facts rather than feelings, inclusion of counseling and hypothetical projection of how plans should play out in the future. Keeping the real interests and needs of the children at the heart of mediation can help develop a solid parenting plan.
Mediation including parents and children together can even help after the divorce. A scientific study published in the March 2017 issue of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence found that even in a controlled trial with randomized subjects, parent-child mediation can assist in minimizing the effects of family conflict. Children who are old enough to understand what divorce means to the family but still too young to handle the emotions surrounding may act out in ways involving delinquency, rebelliousness and refusal to engage academically. Mediation can help children express feelings in a neutral environment and come closer to parents in a positive way.