Listening to Children and Parents

Authors Dr Sietske Dijkstra
Published in The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Taking Stock after 25 Years and Looking Ahead
Publication date 2016
Research groups Working with Mandated Clients
Type Article

Summary

Divorce is a common and complex phenomenon with high social impact, especially when it involves pervasive conflict. This chapter discusses an analytic content-based framework for gaining an in-depth understanding of divorce. It considers seven inter- related dimensions: time, conflict, relationships, violence, systems, cooperation and communication. Each dimension can be further related to the exacerbating factors of addiction and psychiatric illness. This analytical method points the way to de- escalating domestic conflict and sometimes intimate violence after divorce by listen- ing to and properly interpreting the voices of children and parents. Partner violence and controlling behaviour before, during and after divorce can arise from the struggle of one partner to attack and diminish the other, or by both partners contending for power as the family breaks up. The resulting conflict can disrupt the parental partner- ship in ways that traumatize them and interfere with their children’s right to grow up in safe surroundings, nurtured and guided by both parents. Social professionals who respond effectively are able to look beyond stereotypes to sense the unique and subtle patterns underlying the intense and persistent discord characteristic of high-conflict divorce. Only when the particular aspects of those patterns are understood and prop- erly addressed can (co-) parenting be restored to assure the children of post-divorce safety and well-being.

Language English
Published in The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Taking Stock after 25 Years and Looking Ahead
Page range 855-876

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