Child Inclusive Mediation

 

Where parents are engaging in mediation to make arrangements for their children, the mediator has an obligation to encourage consideration of the children's wishes and feelings and to offer the opportunity to all young people aged 10 and above to have their voices heard directly by meeting with the mediator if the child so wishes and the parents agree.   It may sometimes be appropriate for children under the age of 10 to meet with the mediator.

There is no substitute for parents having open direct communication with their children about matters, but there can be circumstances when lines of communication become difficult or blocked.  This is when child inclusive mediation can be helpful in disentangling things.  My role is to facilitate communication and not to act in a therapeutic capacity as a child counsellor.

The contents of the discussion with the child will be confidential and only shared with the parents or anyone else if the child agrees to this.  In practice children usually do wish for their feelings to be reported back and often want to help, but it must be made clear that they are not under pressure for this to happen.  I can help the child to articulate any message which they wish to have reported back.

Children feel anxious if they think that they are being asked to choose between parents or make decisions, hence it needs to be made clear that the decisions will be made by their parents at the end of the day, although the childrens’ views will be taken into account.

Research has shown that the majority of children feel that they ought to be able to have a say, that they feel cared for and respected by being consulted, and that consultation with a mediator enables them to talk about things they are concerned about without fear of worrying or upsetting their parents.  It has been found to ease communication and reduce tension in parent–child relationships, and the majority of children and parents with experience of child inclusive mediation have reported that they found it helpful.

A discussion will take place with the parents first to consider whether consulting with their child is appropriate or not and to agree the process for taking matters forward.

After consulting with a child I arrange a meeting with the parents to give feedback.

To see the basis on which I consult with children please click here for the form of agreement which parents would be asked to sign. 

 

 

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