Legacy is a powerful word.

It can mean money, status, relation, heritage, or heirloom.

While the majority of Americans won’t come into a comfortable inheritance, all of us can relate to the word in another way. Each of us will leave a legacy of our own, whether it be to our communities, our families, or our children.

What is your legacy?

I’ve spent years studying how conflict, which affects children, actually generates from their parents. How a child observes their parents conflict management style, or lack thereof, is how they will also deal with conflict throughout their childhood and into their adult lives. As adults, sometimes we forget that we have tiny children that look at us and learn from us.

In my book, The Cure for Divorce Culture, I share overwhelming statistics on the legacy of litigated conflict, specifically the impact a parent’s divorce has on a child. These findings show complications in personal relationships, drug and alcohol abuse, and depression.

  • 200% of children are more likely to get divorced if one spouse is from a divorced home
  • 50% more likely to get divorced when one spouse is from a divorced home
  • 18.9% of children living with one parent have a drug or alcohol problem
  • 18.8% of children of divorce suffered from a lifetime of alcohol dependence
  • 30% increase in likelihood of suicide attempts by adult children of divorce

As America’s Attorney for Change, I’m on a mission to change these frightening statistics through Collaborative Law. Children are too young to be jaded and self-absorbed. They are absorbing us, as we are their lives. Divorce doesn’t have to mean lifelong conflict and continuous dispute. Here are three things to keep in mind in order to ensure your legacy is a positive one for your children:

  • Accept that conflict management is learned from parents
    • A lion cub learns how to hunt by watching its parents
    • A baby learns how to eat by watching its parents
    • A child learns how to deal with conflict by watching its parents
  • Look in the mirror at your own conflict management style taught by your parents
    • Figure out five good things that happened in conflict management
    • Figure out five bad things that happened in conflict management
  • Realize perspective on the matter
    • Place yourself above the chess board with an overview
    • Develop awareness of the circumstance rather than a player in the game

This thought process will get you out of critter state through the use of your prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain handles cognitive behavior and personal expression. I’m one of several professionals with methods on handling conflict management, dispute resolution, and decision making. A few other experts in this field who have wonderful perspectives are authors and speakers Cy Wakeman, Brené Brown, PhD, and Mel Robbins, Esq.

  • Cy Wakeman is an international leadership speaker, consultant, and #1 New York Times bestselling author. Cy studies drama and its impact in the workplace and on families. She focuses her work and mission on diffusion of drama through leadership based on reality. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Cy on several projects, including her No Ego podcast, S2E25.
  • I strongly recommend watching Brené Brown’s TED talk “The Power of Vulnerability” where she uses her expertise to discuss perception and connection which can be related to conflict resolution, self-awareness, and mindfulness. It’s one of the most viewed TED talks to date with nearly 45 million views. Brené is a Licensed Master Social Worker and qualitative researcher who has written five #1 New York Times best sellers.
  • Author, speaker, and attorney, Mel Robbins, is widely known for various contributions in American media. While she’s covered trials for CNN as a legal analyst, she’s also a well-known motivational speaker who helps millions take control of their life. She created the psychological trick “the five second rule” that has turned into a book and a TED talk. The concept focuses on how to take back your life and transform yourself. She most recently launched The Mel Robbins Show in September.

As these incredible women and myself have discovered through years of research, nothing is broken forever and you have the power to change it. All it takes is an understanding and acceptance of the situation and the effort and method you plan to use to fix it for the future. We have a responsibly to put this concept into practice and take control of our legacy.

If you and your spouse are considering divorce, please contact me to discuss a way that your divorce doesn’t have to create lifelong trauma for your children. Collaborative Law saves families and I’m here to help. Click here to read more about my practice and method of divorce.