Learn about taking care of children during divorce from Warren Seigel MD Chief of Pediatrics at Coney Island Hospital Adolescent Expert.
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Host: Today, marriage is more like a pre-divorce. Parents should realize that they have children. Their concerns for of the wellbeing of the children should be the utmost and what you will now have a contract that has being broken up. How should we approach this problem? Guest: It's an interesting point, being a parent, there is inherent risks and responsibilities and I think that the most responsibility that parents have, even before they have children, is to their children and often, parents when they are going through a divorce or through separation, forget that responsibility. The most important thing that we can do as parents, is to remember that the safety and the welfare, the long-term welfare of our children is paramount and when parents start splitting up, when they are going through difficult times, children often are used as a wedge between parents and husbands and wives or significant others who use children to deal with their frustrations and children really get caught in between. I think, the most important thing that parents can remember when they are going through divorce is that their long term welfare, their physical welfare as well as their emotional welfare, is the most important thing. It's not about the money and it's not about hurting your significant other or your spouse, but that the most important person, that you have to protect is your children and that includes their emotional health. Host: I think parents should sit down and say look, we can't live with each other, the financial thing should be done by the court. Well, let's see if we can work out something, we have children. Let's see if we can not have a war in front of the kids. We can just separate because the truth is we have now victims of the divorce, epidemic -- would you refer them as an epidemic right now. Guest: There's no question. We know that divorce is on the rise. It continues to rise and in certain communities, having an intact family is actually very, very rare. But, I think the point that you are making is that children must be the most important thing, that families feel good about themselves and they produce their children. Their sons and their daughters and their emotional health is got to be made number one, and it's not about the house, or the CDs or the money in the bank. The most important things that we have is our kids and their emotional health is number one. Host: Well, good guideline is, let's say "look let's decide together, maybe as partners to these children, not married partners to the children" and say look "if you say something, that I disagree, I'll do it in private, let's see if we can workout, maybe we can get better relationship with the kids than we have when we were married, because we were fighting in front of them. Let's stop fighting in front of them", because the truth is you can be separated, you can get divorce, you still have the children. Guest: Absolutely and as my parents always told me, your mother and father are your mother and father forever and ever and ever. Even after they are gone. After the money is dealt with and the commodities of the marriage has ended and the divorce degree is finalized, you still have your children and it's important to remember that even through the difficult times, and it's also important to remember not to fight in front of the kids, as you point out, the lawyers will deal with legal aspects, the courts will deal with the legal aspects, but your children will always be there for you and you need to always be there for your children and you shouldn't use your children to hurt your spouse or your ex.