Archive for February, 2014

Why the Collaborative Divorce Process is better for Children

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Therapists have long known that children whose parents have divorced will do better when their parents are able to remain emotionally strong and supportive for their children.  Divorcing parents who are able to co-parent in a respectful manner help their children adapt more easily to a stressful time in the family’s life.  What we know is that children are impacted negatively by high-conflict divorce more than the divorce itself.  High-conflict creates “toxic stress” to children that increases anxiety, decreases the ability to perform well, and leads to depression and acting-out behaviors.  Sadly, the litigated approach often contributes to enhancing conflict rather than reducing it. And for parents who stay in a high-conflict marriage for “the sake of the children” are creating more toxic stress for their children than a healthy divorce.  In my work with many young adults who have gone off to college I have heard so often “I wish my parents had gotten divorced.  They fight all the time and I hate it.  It is so stressful to deal with”.  Again, it is the high-conflict that is more harmful to children than undergoing a life transition.  Our children are often faced with difficult life transitions – death of a beloved grandparent, illness in a parent or sibling, financial stress due to a layoff, moving because of a job transfer, etc.  What is important to children is feeling supported and emotionally secure through any of these difficult times.

Unlike the adversarial litigated approach, the Collaborative approach is a kinder, gentler, healthier and smarter process of divorcing.  Kinder and gentler because a team will support the couple through this process, healthier because it provides opportunities for teaching communication and co-parenting skills and smarter because it supports the couple in arriving at their own decisions together.  Do you want to make the decisions together, or have a judge decide?  Who should know best the needs of your children?  The Divorce Coach helps the divorcing couple work together on co-parenting as they begin to un-couple but remain co-parents.  This work helps stabilize the emotions and reduce conflicts that will have a positive outcome for children needing their parent’s support during this stressful life transition.

Karen Ela Kenny, LICSW

Karen Ela Kenny, LICSW

Karen Ela Kenny, LICSW is a Collaborative Divorce Coach and Facilitator.  She is also the co-chair of CLANH and the Clinical Director of Counseling at St. Anselm College in Manchester.  She has a private practice in Nashua NH where she has been seeing children and families for 30 years.