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Separated Parents: What is Really in the Child’s Best Interest?

July 7, 2016

When separated parents start throwing out the phrase, “best interest of the children,” in the midst of a dispute with the other parent, I know something is amiss.

As the fight rages on, both come to evoke that phrase. The dispute may be about decision making, the residential arrangement, choice of school or activities or attendance at some special event.

Each parent locked in bitter battle accuses the other of losing sight of the child’s best interest, while presenting themselves as the one truly acting on the child’s behalf.

What neither parent realizes though is that the life-long outcome for children of separated parents is less determined by who decides what, what time the child spends where or what school or activities they attend.

The real factor that determines the outcome for children of separated parents is the level of conflict between the parents. The greater the parental conflict, the more at risk the child is for poor outcomes.

The best interests of the child are served by parents finding peaceful solutions to resolving their differences. If there are locked in battle, it is clear one or both have lost sight of their child’s true best interest despite what may be said.

Your child likely won’t be counting the days he or she spent here or there as an adult, but will remember the pain and anguish of being torn apart.

The best childhood memories start with peaceful parents. Now that’s in the best interest of children.

Do you know someone who might benefit from this information? Please scroll down and share this article. To view my full list of peacemaking strategies to facilitate settlement, check this out.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker.

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships

One Comment
  1. Great article, Gary. So important for parents to get this message right from the beginning. I especially find great value in this point: “Your child likely won’t be counting the days he or she spent here or there as an adult, but will remember the pain and anguish of being torn apart.” We as divorce professionals must keep focusing attention on the true meaning of “best interest of the children” so we can really address their wellbeing!

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