Host: Is separation and divorce harmful to children?
John Spiegel: Separation and divorce is almost always sad for everybody, for the parents as well as for the children. But it does not have to be devastating. It depends on how it is handled. There is research that is reassuring that indicates that all human beings are resilient emotionally, children and parents, where it is like we are created to land on our feet and we will if we are given a chance.
The research also shows that the thing that can be very harmful to children is exposure to conflict between their parents. Obviously, if children by the time they say reach my office in mediation have already been exposed to lot of fighting between parents that can not be changed, but what I ask my clients is to make a commitment that from this moment on, your children will not see the two of you fight, they will not even hear one end of a contentious phone call between the two of you.
I say to people one of the goals of mediation is that this will be a place away from your children where conflict can be addressed and resolved, so that your children will never have to hear that again.