When to have a child consultation?
As parents, you should think about having a Child Consultation with a specially trained mediator, if you feel that your child or children have:
- become distracted at school
- started to show signs of anxiety
- have become concerned or stressed about parent/adult issues linked to your separation
- have tried to hide their feelings/emotions from you, or your ex-partner, because they want to protect your feelings or the other parent’s
- feel responsible for their parents’ conflict
As a parent, it is important to remember that it is normal for your child or children to feel like this, or have trouble dealing with your separation. Academic research suggests that child consultation within the mediation process can help children deal with their concerns and emotions. However, before undertaking any consultation, your mediator will ask you and your ex-partner if you are prepared to listen and take on board the views of your children. It is important to remember that a specialist child mediator will carry out the consultation, not your mediator.
Benefits for your children
There can be many benefits to child consultations, as long as that suitable and appropriate safeguarding measures are put in place. Below are some of the potential benefits:
- Enables your child’s/children’s voice to be heard
- Allows your child/children to ask questions they may have and to give their thoughts
- Helps identify worries or concerns your child/children may have
- Allows your child/children to ask questions and to understand the changes that are happening
- Supports communications, as it lets them feel they are being listened to and understood
- Can reduce parent-child stresses
- Gives your child/children the chance to speak to a mediator in confidence, without them worrying about how you, as parents, will react
- Provides feedback to you and your ex-partner, but only as requested by the child, so that you can make informed decisions
- Our child mediator will try and help your child/children to understand how important it is to not to keep secrets
- Our child mediator will ask your child/children permission for information given, to be shared with you and your ex-partner
Your outcome as a parent
Through child consultation and mediation it is hoped that as parents, you will:
- improve communications between you and your child/children
- be able to identify issues and work towards child focussed solutions, allowing for positive parenting
- focus on the future and leave previous conflicts behind
- become more aware of the importance of involving your child/children when making decisions about the future
Preparing your child or children for the child consultation
- Your child’s mediator, will invite your child/children directly to come to the consultation. If you would prefer, you can give them the invitation, but it is important that they understand it is their choice whether they do or do not wish to attend, and that they can stop at any point. This will be explained again if they accept the invitation.
- It is expected that you and your ex-partner will allow your mediator to talk about matters with your child/children, without you being in the mediation room.
- We ask you and your ex-partner not to: 1) brief children before the meeting; 2) question them after the session; 3) tell them off for anything they may or may not have said.
We take safeguarding very seriously at Direct Mediation Services. Our main aim in the Child Consultation session is to actively listen to your child/children. Your mediator will not pass on any information to the child mediator about what has been said previously in mediation. This ensures that the child consultant maintains their independent role as an advocate for your child/children making sure that their voice is heard.
We need to be fully confident that you as parents understand and agree to the terms of the meeting: 1) that it is confidential; 2) it is the child or children’s choice about what feedback is given; 3) no briefing of your child/children before, or questioning them afterwards.
- It is important that you, your ex-partner and child/children understand that what is said in any child consultation remains confidential. Your child/children may agree that they would like some or all of what they have said in the child consultation to be fed back to you, as parents.
- Our aim is to assist families to move forward. This is why we have listed this information on our website, so that your family can have clear expectations regarding child consultations.
- It is to be understood that communications made during the mediation process are confidential; however, your mediator cannot give a guarantee of confidentiality in all circumstances. This is because a situation might arise in which a child’s life or safety is endangered. This will be explained to any children being consulted and should any concerns arise, your mediator will take appropriate action by making a referral to the relevant professional body.
Child mediation sessions are booked through your family mediator. If you would like to talk to a child mediator, please call: 0113 468 9593 to arrange a free consultation.
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Direct Mediation Services
Direct Mediation Services is a trading name of The Intelligent Solutions Group Ltd. The company is registered in England and Wales. Company number 7760633. VAT number 334 1841 12. Our company’s registered address is 5 Carla Beck House, Carla Beck Lane, Carleton, Skipton, BD23 3BQ.
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