“Do you hate each other more than you love your children?”

Yes, I know, its quite a question. But one that I was taught, when training as a family mediator to ask parents who are locked into high-conflict, angry battles with each other and who seem to want to fight “to the death”.

But its a powerful thing to ask a couple, and one which might help them to stop, take a breath, and think about how they might want their children to experience the ending of their parents’ marriage or relationship.

After all, their role as lovers, spouses, partners, friends, may all be at an end, but the job of being parents to the children of that relationship is not. Parenting a child together can be hard, we all know that, but doing so whilst in turbulent conflict with that person is a near impossible task. And the victims will inevitably be the children who are caught in the crossfire of the fight. Research has repeatedly told us that children can weather pretty well the separation of their parents but only if they are not exposed to prolonged conflict.

Yahoo News, in an article this week reporting on the high profile upcoming divorce of this celebrity couple, is considering the impact of conflict on a child’s mental health : Counselling Directory member Beverley Blackman shares some excellent tips on how such damage may be avoided. With the latest ONS statistics suggesting an increase in divorces again in the UK, and anecdotal evidence pointing to an imminent surge in break-ups as we finally exit lockdown, this is a very timely read.

How to look after your child's mental health when going through divorce

Laura Hampson
Thu, 15 April 2021,

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West with their oldest kids Saint and North in New York in 2016. (Getty)
No-one enters into a marriage expecting it not to work out, but divorce is, unfortunately, a fact of life. 

An estimated 42% of marriages in the UK will end in divorce, with the median length of time a marriage lasts being 12.3 years.

According to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data from 2019, there were 107,599 divorces of opposite-sex couples in England and Wales that year, an increase of 18.4% from 2018.

Reality star Kim Kardashian recently filed for divorce from her husband, singer Kanye West. The pair have agreed to joint custody of their four young children, North, seven, Saint, five, Chicago, three, and Psalm, one.

But agreeing custody arrangements is not the only hurdle parents have to overcome when going through a divorce. They will also be worried about the impact of their separation on their children's mental health.