While a marriage can end, parenting is forever

No one should enter into marriage lightly and no one should enter the divorce process lightly either, writes a social psychologist. She emphasizes that parents should be especially careful when considering divorce, and also when choosing what kind of divorce they will have.

She says it’s up to you to choose whether your divorce will be acrimonious or amicable, and that the choice you make will have a lasting impact on your children.

Mediator and social psychologist Dr. Jamie C. Williamson writes in the Huffington Post that it “may come as a shock” to people pondering divorce, but the obvious reality is that the choice is theirs to make. She encourages people to opt for an amicable divorce followed by peace co-existence as parents.

Children need both their parents, she writes. Kids crave “a safe, secure, and happy family environment,” whether their parents are married or not.

Williamson cites the case of a couple she helped through divorce. While going through mediation, they sometimes abandoned their pledge to be civil. The mother sobbed that the couple wanted an amicable split, but didn’t know how to do it. Their relationship had deteriorated, she said, and they can’t stop their angry bickering and sniping. “It’s just who we are now,” she lamented.

The doctor “encouraged them to be gentle with themselves and forgiving of each other.” She says the children are the ones hurt most by a hostile, bitter divorce.

For many people going through a divorce, a psychologist can be an essential addition to the divorce team. That team can also include a financial adviser and, of course, a skilled family law attorney experienced in helping clients get through the tangle of law and emotions.

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