Work with children and young people affected by separation
Research indicates that children are significantly affected by parental conflict. Many parents believe it is important for the children to have a voice in decision affecting the family. At the same time they do not want to expose their children to arguments or conflict between adults.
We can support children by offering them the opportunity to have a voice in the separation process, enabling parents to make more informed decisions. This work is designed to run alongside mediation between parents themselves.
How does it work?
If both parents agree that their child(ren) may benefit from being consulted about arrangements, we spend time in mediation planning the conversation. In this way we can ensure that children and young people are not inadvertently being asked to take more responsibility than they should. The mediator then writes to the young person explaining who they are and that their parents think it important that their views are taken into account. The letter makes it clear that they have a choice: if they do not wish to express their views they will not be forced to do so (in keeping with the principles of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1995/36/section/6).
If the young person does wish to express their views, we ask a parent to bring them along to a one-to-one-meeting. At this meeting the mediator asks them questions that have already been discussed with their parents. The mediator makes it clear that she/he will pass on their views to their parents, but that their parents are still responsible for making decisions about the family.
In the next mediation session the mediator feeds back the young person’s views. These are often known to parents: sometimes new information appears. This enables parent to make plans and arrangements that take their child(ren)’s perspective into account. Children have often expressed satisfaction or relief that their opinion was listened to.
If you think direct consultation may be helpful please call and discuss it:
Alison – 07762 028752
Alison is trained by relationships Scotland www.relationships-scotland.org in Consulting Children in Mediation.