Of all the reasons to mediate, the welfare of the children is perhaps the best.
For parents who prioritize the well-being of their children and are concerned about the impact of divorce, mediation proffers the most loving, protective approach. In fact, a mediated divorce, and the subsequent harmonious separation it encourages, can produce a healthier environment for children than that of a dysfunctional marriage. Divorcing amicably, rather than staying together “for the children,” is often the more responsible parenting choice.
In this excellent blog posting, Rachel Alexander writes that divorce addresses a marriage that isn’t working. A mediated divorce addresses the family affected by that broken marriage.
From the outset, mediating parents demonstrate several things their litigating counterparts cannot. Chiefly, mediating parents model their capacity and willingness to overcome conflict together. By mediating, despite their individual need to be apart, parents exemplify a commitment to unify in a new way for the benefit of their children. By enacting mature problem solving, demonstrating perspective, and determining to prioritize values over impulses, parents help children feel safely held and protected. Children are reassured by parents who are embodying their best selves.
Mediation not only shields children from becoming embattled in parental warfare, but it also champions children by encouraging parents to freshly approach and redesign the family. When parents mediate divorce, they can authentically explore fundamental parenting issues. Parents can redefine mutual goals for their children and realign with one another’s values. Divorced or not, parenting together is usually on-negotiable. The negotiation is on how to co-parent, cohesively and effectively, or adversarially. As co-parenting may continue for 15-20 years after a divorce is final, creating a sturdy parenting foundation will influence the quality of life for each family member for decades.