When you have children, divorce becomes much more serious of a matter. In a monumental book entitled, “In the Name of the Child” (1997), Janet Johnson and Vivienne Roseby do an excellent job of describing the problems that occur for children when their parents stay angry.
It has become a very important “bible” for custody evaluators, mediators, and judges. When orders are made in court or recommendations are made by evaluators, they often state that they are being made “In the Name of the Child.” This term has become synonymous with, “in the best interest of the child.”
According to the authors, “Although most former partners manage to separate their needs and preserve their parenthood, one-quarter to one-third of couples have considerable difficulty in doing so and at least five to ten percent clearly fail. They remain hostile for many years, placing their children at high risk for lifelong emotional and behavioral problems. These children bear serious risk of repeating the cycle of conflicted and abusive familial relationships into adulthood.” Johnson, Roseby, and Kuehnne have published an updated version of the 1997 book, entitled, “In the Name of the Child: A Developmental Approach to Understanding and Helping Children of Conflicted and Violent Divorce. Second Edition.”
I begin with this statement and these two books because as a clinician and custody evaluator, I see the 10% that Johnson and Roseby speak of. However, my estimate is higher than 10 percent. In my experience in private practice, as a parent, and as a custody evaluator for over 25 years, I would say that high conflict divorces with high risk children are closer to 20 percent of the divorced population with children. There are degrees of damage that these families create, but I begin with this so that if you see yourself as being in this situation, you will read advice and seek help for yourself and your children.