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October 26, 2015

Gauging the Impact of Conflict on Children in Divorce

Collaborative Law Institute of Texas President-Elect Camille Milner, while attending the 2015 IACP Conference earlier this month, was inspired by keynote speaker Donna Hicks to write a blog article from the road. Titled “The Impact of Conflict on Children,” the article looks at how children are impacted psychologically by their parents’ fights, the similarities between psychological and physical injury, and strategies to help minimize the damages in a divorce.

She also highlights a valuable TEDx video by Tamara Afifi, a professor at the University of California Santa Barbara in the Department of Communication. Milner prefaces it with the revelation, “I have long thought that conventional wisdom about children having great resiliency is wrong. It is my belief that, in fact, children do not have much resiliency because resiliency is developed by life experiences over a long period of time.”

She also noted, regarding her practice, “I see children of divorce in my office who are now in their 30’s and 40’s getting divorced. Because they suffered through their own parents’ divorce, many of these clients have anguished for years over the dilemma of whether staying together is ‘better for their children, no matter what.’ They feel that if they must divorce they desperately want their children’s experience to be different than theirs was when their parents divorced.”

Collaborative divorce is obviously an effective means by which parents can divorce — and can do so in a way that takes care of the emotional needs of everyone involved, especially the children. After reading Milner’s article, it’s even clearer why this is so important.

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