We always knew that high conflict divorces can cause extreme emotional harm to children. Now, we’ve learned that it can also cause physical harm that will go beyond the years of childhood and well into adulthood.
A study has been conducted which shows that there is evidence that a child’s health can be compromised by marital difficulties. The study also suggests that childhood adversity can disrupt the development of the stress response in children and increase the sensitivity or reaction to stressful circumstances later in life.
Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control has linked the increasing likelihood of stroke by 3 times the average in men who had experienced parents going through high conflict divorces in childhood.
I know that as Professional Family Mediators we are always preaching that mediation limits the amount of conflict when a couple is going through a divorce, but I often wonder how often the general public really takes it to heart and understands the effects. After reading this article, I wonder if the way to make divorcing couples understand this is to ask the question, “would you purposefully inflict a physical illness on your child that would stay with them into adulthood”? In essence parents engaging in conflict during a divorce are doing exactly that.
Don’t parent’s owe it to their children to make sure that they can be as healthy as possible both emotionally and physically? It’s so important that as a society, if divorce is going to be a part of the current norm, mediation must become the norm as well.
Roseann Vanella is a Professional Family Mediator and Founder of Advanced Mediation Solutions, www.advancedmediationsolutions.net, located at 3804 Church Rd., Mt Laurel NJ 08048, 856-669-7172 and has additional offices in Langhorne, PA and Philadelphia PA. Ms. Vanella is also a Professional Speaker with subject matter expertise on all types of Family Mediation including divorce and elder mediation.