With the current rate of divorce and the breakup of common-law relationships in Canada combining to total approximately 50 per cent, it is imperative to pay attention to the impact of the changes on children and their parents before and after separation.
As Langley-based Family and Couples Therapist and Family Mediator Dr. Ellie Bolgar relates, the finality of divorce creates a diverse, unique and often difficult transitional experience for the family. Research shows that it is not the divorce that hurts the children, but the conflict between the parents, she says.
With the right approach, couples and families can move through separation and collaborate in a healthy way. Fractures can be repaired and families can transition to new relationships that are mutually respectful.
Combining psychology with the law – mediation can provide a better approach
Dr. Bolgar’s unique services not only touch on the psychological effects of family breakup, but offer an understanding of family law, whether it is separation and divorce, or the uncoupling of a common-law union. They can also help with the pre- and post- stress and adjustment of separation.
“The legal system is not primarily focused on the emotional and social adjustments of family members.” she says.
“When change happens in the family, each member responds differently. Anxiety is normal at the times of uncertainty. Everyone hurts differently and pain evokes different emotions.”
The impact of change on adults and children varies and everyone develops their own unique ways of coping. Counselling can help moving forward, grieve and adjust.
Blended families dynamic has an effect on children
The number of blended families has grown over the years, and that new family dynamic is often more difficult to maintain. As such there is a higher divorce rate in second marriages than first, due to the challenges of blending, for both parents and children. The signs of stress in children are often present in their behavior and their social or academic performance. Parents may experience guilt and disappointment, and conflicts from the first marriage often spill into the second when people don’t give enough time to adjust to their new reality.
Counselling parents and children before and after the split can set families up for success, Dr. Bolgar says. As a Professor, Therapist and Family Mediator, she believes supporting the attachment between both parents and their children during and after separation plays a significant part in children’s personality development and emotional well-being.
If you’d like to find out more about family counselling and mediation, contact Dr. Ellie Bolgar at 604-371-0198 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.