A Peaceful Future Is A Gift

A mediated divorce can help prevent toxic stress for your child

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2024 | Divorce |

All responsible divorcing parents want to limit the negative effects of their split on their children. That may be one of the reasons – if not the key reason – you’re considering a mediated divorce rather than a litigated divorce.

Mediation is actually good practice for divorcing couples who will be co-parenting. It gives them the opportunity to work out their custody arrangement, parenting plan and other agreements together, with the guidance of their individual legal representatives and the mediator. 

By choosing mediation, you also minimize the chances that your divorce will become what’s known as an “adverse childhood experience” (ACE) for your child. Mental health professionals have identified approximately a dozen ACEs that can cause toxic stress. This stress is so serious that it can have ramifications far into adulthood. It can result in psychological, social, relationship, substance abuse and even physical health problems. 

What are ACEs?

The most commonly agreed-upon ACEs are:

  • Physical, emotional and sexual of a child or other member of the household (usually a parent)
  • Parental mental illness, substance abuse or incarceration and maternal depression
  • Homelessness
  • Divorce

So how did divorce get in there? Divorce alone may not be an ACE for a child unless it’s particularly bitter and drawn out. This can turn parents against one another and leave their child in the middle. Sometimes, in conflict-ridden divorces, parents are so busy trying to get back at one another or “win” that they lose sight of what’s best for their child.

More often, divorce occurs when one or more of the other ACEs is present. Unfortunately, divorce may not put an end to the presence of those other ACEs.

What’s crucial is to recognize the causes and signs of toxic stress in a child, minimize or eliminate the causes where possible and consider therapy for your child so they can work through their ACEs before they threaten their future health and happiness.