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High Conflict Divorce Mediation

What Is In The Best Interest Of Your Child May Not Be Convenient

Steven M. West, Esq.

For an adult, going through a divorce is often the most emotionally exhausting experience that they will ever have. But, for their children it can be even worse.

Children of divorcing parents often suffer from depression, sleep disorders, loss of self-esteem, poor academic performance, behavioral regression, and a host of other physical and emotional problems.

Studies have shown that divorce can affect children both in the short term and the long term. The effects of divorce can be minimized if the parents would keep the following in mind:

1. Reassure the children that they are loved and that the divorce is not their fault.
2. Children should not be used as messengers between parents. By making them messengers they become part of the battle.
3. Never talk negatively about your former partner in front of the children. As children are part mom and part dad, negatively referring to the other parent can batter the child's self-esteem.
4. Except in unusual situations, encourage your children to spend time with the other parent.
5. Remind yourself that your children's interests, not your own, are paramount, and act accordingly.
6. If possible, do not uproot your children. Stability helps buffer children from the trauma of their parents' divorce.
7. If you have a drinking or drug problem, get counseling immediately. An impairment inhibits your ability to reassure your children.
8. Pay your child support. The loss of income facing many children after divorce puts them in a disadvantage that has a pervasive effect on the rest of their lives.
9. If you are the custodial parent and not receiving child support, do not complain to your children. It feeds into their sense of abandonment and further erodes their stability.
10. Children are not there to take care of you. You are there to take care of the children. Let your friends, adult family members and mental health professionals be your counselors.
Steven M. West, Esq.
Steven M. West, Esq. is an attorney and mediator in Los Angeles County. He has many years of experience and has been practicing law for over thirty years. You can reach Steven at: LAW & MEDIATION OFFICE OF STEVEN M. WEST, 16255 Ventura Boulevard; Suite 515, Encino, California 91436-2310. (818)789-6300.

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