‘Children are human beings who deserve our respect, because of their innocence and because of their better future prospects than we have.’
Children must always be at the centre of negotiations between the parents in any Professional Mediators Bristol – Free Family Mediators involving children. Parents have a significant duty to ensure that their children’s physical and mental well-being is protected, and that their needs are put ahead of their own.
When it comes to mediation, how can we make sure that children are protected?
Families who are in the process of divorcing should take into account the influence that any proposed solutions would have on their children, as well as whether or not those solutions will fulfil the children’s requirements, protect their well-being, and if necessary also meet the wishes of the parents.
Successful coparenting relies on open and honest communication not just between the parents, but also between the parents and their children. According to studies, one of the most common complaints children have about their divorced parents is that they didn’t feel included or heard when it came to decisions that may affect them in the future. Keeping children safe and secure throughout a family breakup necessitates open lines of communication between the adults in the household.
Consequently, parents may wish to communicate openly with their children about how they feel and what they think about the issue. Of course, this must be done in a way that is age- and maturity-appropriate for the children involved. In addition, it is critical that children do not feel as though they are in the centre of a family breakup.
It is important for parents to evaluate if they should speak with their children jointly or individually, and if so, how they may communicate with each other about their children’s perspectives.
Involve an expert
Sometimes, parents or children themselves may find it difficult to express their thoughts to one another and require further help in order to do so in the future. Involving a professional who the children may confide in discreetly may be suitable, according to the parents. Counselling, therapy, or further help from the school may be necessary. This might be just for the youngster, or it could be for the entire family.
Children’s participation in the mediation process
Another option for families in mediation is to include their children in the process. In an informal and confidential setting, the mediator may hear directly from the kid about how they are feeling and what they have to say. With the mediator, they may share their thoughts on what their parents should know. When a kid is included in a family mediation, it may be quite helpful for parents when they are making decisions about how to raise their children in the aftermath of a divorce. The youngster is merely being asked to share their thoughts, not make a decision. Child protection concerns will not prevent a mediator from respecting a child’s requests to withhold information from his or her parents. However, it is up to the individual kid to decide whether or not he or she is ready to be spoken to directly during mediation.
Resources should be shared with youngsters.
Children whose families have broken up may find some assistance in publicly available materials. Every parent should take the time to consider what resources they can provide for their children and then make those resources available to them. The following are some well-known sources:
- Voices in the Middle (website) – a location for young people who are going through divorce or separation to get aid and support.
- Journal for kids going through divorce, with many of activities to help them work through emotions and thoughts, and an open forum for them to ask their parents concerns.
- In order to help children and young people make their voices heard, the National Youth Advocacy Service was established.
- Young people can benefit from CAFCASS’ “My Family Is Dying” brochure, which explains the breakup of a family to them in an understandable way.
- Child line — a toll-free hotline dedicated to children’s issues.
- Using bear-themed flash cards, children and adults can better communicate their emotions.
So, in answer to the initial question, how can we show respect for children whose parents are divorcing? The suggestions listed above are only a sample of what is possible. When it comes to divorce and separation, there is a clear tendency toward the importance of communication in ensuring the well-being of children.
To contact Professional Mediators, Bristol – Free Family Mediators at 03300100179