Family Mediators aim to support the children during their parents’ separation. They do not judge or exploit the differences between parents. Parents have equal rights and responsibilities and it is the parents who are the eventual decision makers.
A relationship breakdown, family separation, or divorce is hard to come to terms with and children can find their emotions especially difficult to cope with at this time. A child’s divided loyalties can result in confusion, anxiety, sadness and even anger and their behaviour may become quite challenging as a result. This can lead to problems at school, withdrawal from their friends and aggressive behaviour at home, sometimes playing one parent off against the other.
During family mediation, parents may be offered the opportunity for a DCC (Direct Consultation with Children) This meeting provides children with a voice in the changes that are affecting them.
Both parents will be asked to provide written permission that they are happy for their child/children to speak to the family mediator on their own. With both parents’ consent, the child/ children will be written to and asked whether they are happy to speak to the family mediator. It is really important that children do not feel pressured to take part or sense that they will be letting their parents down if they refuse to speak to the mediator.
The family mediator will listen to the child, without the parents being present, and reassure them that what they say in the meeting will not be repeated and that they will decide what (if anything) is reported back to the their parents. This information will then be shared with the parents at a later mediation session. Most young people seen by mediators want their parents to have feedback via the mediator.
Child-related mediation agreements can have a degree of flexibility and may be adjusted to take into account a child’s changing needs as they reach an age where they want to spend more time seeing their friends, or their interests or hobbies change.
Our Time2Talk service enables mediation between young people and their parents/carers. See Time to Talk HERE