Child inclusive mediation: What is it and how does it work?
Child inclusive mediation gives children and young people a voice at a time when the family dynamics are changing. The breakdown of their parents’ marriage may be leaving them feeling out of control and mediation offers a safe environment to talk about their own feelings and wishes without any pressure to make decisions or take sides.
No matter how determined parents are to put their children first during separation and divorce, the stress and emotions they experience at different stages of the process can sometimes make this extremely difficult and a specially trained family mediator can offer invaluable support to everyone. Plus, children can be afraid to talk about how they really feel because they are worried about upsetting their parents.
Children who have been involved in child inclusive mediation often feel less anxious about what is happening and more secure about their future because they have been able to express their views. It can also help to relieve the concerns of parents who naturally worry about the long-term effects their divorce might have on their children.
How child mediation works
• Children can be seen individually or with their siblings, or both.
• The focus will be on encouraging them to think about their needs without worrying about hurting their parents’ feelings or adding to their stress.
• The sessions are intended to offer a safe and confidential environment so the child mediator will not share information from the sessions with the parents unless the child or young person requests it.
• Children will not be asked to make decisions or choices.
• Children aged 10 and over are ideally suited to child inclusive mediation although younger children can be included.
• There are exceptions, for example where children have a learning difficulty or mental illness or where there are concerns over safeguarding.
• Mediators who carry out child inclusive mediation need to be accredited. This is extremely important because they will be carrying out a very sensitive and important role. They will be working closely with young people who need to be able to talk openly with someone impartial who they can really trust.
What are the benefits of child inclusive mediation?
Involving children and young people in the mediation process can be a powerful way of encouraging parents to focus their decision making so that the choices they make are in the very best interests of the family as a whole. It can often change the way things progress because of this increased awareness. Some of the areas that might be discussed include living arrangements, how much time children will spend with each parent, schooling, time with friends and how the holidays will be spent.
Where to find child inclusive mediation in Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Harrogate has its own specialist child mediation expert, Sally Clark. Sally is a former mental health nurse and fully qualified family law solicitor who specialises in working with children and young people. She has particular experience of working with teenagers and offers one to one sessions with young people to offer them a chance to discuss their feelings in a safe and confidential environment. To talk to Sally about child inclusive family mediation call 01423 637 272