Matthew R. Babcock, LMSW
Matthew is a licensed master social worker with specialties in clinical social work, school social work, and conflict resolution. He has been working with children and families from all walks of life for over 10 years and is a family man himself, being a husband and father. Having had the opportunity to specialize his work with children and families, Matthew has seen the effects that family stress can have. All families have stressors at one point or another but it is how the family, led by the parents, deal with these stressors that shape the outcome for each individual involved.
Divorce or separations can be one of the most stressful events to happen in a person’s life. It’s a discomforting time that has many sharp edges. Unfortunately, and as many know, there can be many long lasting effects of a divorce. For some, it is the social aspects that are attached, for others it can create serious psychological trauma. For children it can be particularly difficult since they are not the initiators and do not have much of a say in any of the proceedings. It can be a confusing process, one which creates new life changes that they do not understand.
Although there is no singular solution to making everything perfect, the process of mediation is a step in the right direction. Mediation helps to build a bridge of communication between individuals by creating a more workable and functional relationship. This new means of interaction with one another is beneficial to everyone, particularly the children.
. . . After becoming a master conflict resolution specialist, I’ve truly found mediation to be an immense help in every aspect of my life. I realized that I changed the way in which I interacted with others on a daily basis. Not only does it help to create a better understanding of my own needs but it also helps me to key in and hear the needs of others. Using mediation makes things smoother, more acceptable, and much more desirable for not just myself, but everyone.– Matt Babcock
Paul S. Roodbeen, MA, LLP
Paul is a Limited Licensed Psychologist and Certified School Psychologist with over 15 years experience working with families ranging from those that would be considered “at-risk” to those that would be seen as typical or average. Experiencing the events leading up to and the eventual divorce of his own parents when Paul was already a mature adult, certainly taught him that no one is immune from the complex effects of divorce.
These diverse experiences have revealed a constant theme when adults are faced with making the tough decision to end a marriage. Divorce is extremely difficult for all those involved – especially the children. For some, it is difficult to imagine how these adult events are seen through the eyes of a child and shape a young person’s life forever.
The impact of this adult driven decision varies in each situation of course, but in many cases, the effects on the children can be significant. In the best of situations, children of divorce often experience short-term psychological adjustments in terms of their sense of stability, or their sense of day to day “normalcy”. Frequently, children may experience feelings of guilt, shame, confusion, abandonment, rejection, and self-doubt. These can lead to psychological issues such as, depression, anger, anxiety, behavioral acting out, inattention, aggression, substance abuse issues, and/or emotional irregularities, just to name a few.
Many factors, including how the parents interact with each other during the divorce process, the age and developmental level of children, how the parents refer to each other, and how willing all involved are in doing what’s best for the “new” family unit will all influence this difficult time of transition. The concept of child-centered mediated divorce is very appealing to those couples who wish to work through this difficult period while being vigilant of how their actions will affect the lives of their nuclear family.
. . . For all types of disputes, including those when children are not involved, the mediation process offers many benefits. It allows both parties the opportunity to have meaningful input and control into developing an acceptable resolution to even the most complex of situations. This allows both parties to move forward in a collaborative and effective way. Additionally, mediation is extremely empowering and offers the “win-win” outcome that litigation cannot.– Paul S. Roodbeen