Child Inclusive mediation

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Child Inclusive Mediation

"Every child has the right to express their views, feelings, and wishes in all matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously. This right applies at all times, for example, during immigration proceedings, housing decisions, or the child's day-to-day home life."

The above excerpt is taken from UNICEF’s summary of Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which came into force in the United Kingdom in 1992.

To facilitate this, Child Inclusive Mediation is a service carried out by mediators who have special additional training in this area. It involves meeting with children around the age of 10 and older face to face, independently, with a specially trained mediator who will help them to talk about the changes in their family. This intervention enables children to voice their concerns and identify things that are important to them and helps parents develop child-focused arrangements that address the specific needs of their children.

Able Mediation, as a family mediator, offers this session for the child or children free of charge as part of our social mission.

Mediator Supporting Couple

Why Is Child Inclusive Mediation Important?

Child Inclusive mediation 2023
  • Children have a strong desire to please both their parents. So, when parents are separating or divorcing, children may conceal their feelings to avoid hurting their parents or making the situation worse. This can create feelings of stress and anxiety in them. The ability to express feelings can relieve this. Child Inclusive Mediation helps children voice their views independently to someone who is committed to ensuring that their perspective is brought into parents’ discussions about arrangements for them.

  • Parents are often in such a chaotic and emotional state themselves that they can find it difficult and painful to truly focus on how their children are coping and what they need. The Child Inclusive Mediation Service gives parents the opportunity to make decisions from an informed position.

  • Although children involved in mediation generally don’t want to make decisions about their care, they do want to be given the opportunity to talk about their experiences and have their voices heard. “A number of studies… have identified that children and young people feel insufficiently consulted by parents and by practitioners about the contact arrangements that directly involve them.” (Making Contact: Liz Trinder, Mary Beek & Jo Connolly, 2002.) 

     

The Child Inclusive Mediation Process

two people in a mediation session listening to a mediator

Arranging child-only meetings

Child Inclusive Mediation can only be arranged with the permission of both parents, and once a minimum of one joint mediation session has already taken place. With these requirements in place, the mediator will write to the child or children to offer an appointment and explain the purpose of the meeting. The child or children can then choose whether they wish to attend or not.
a mediator listening to a child

The Child-Only Meetings

The child or children meet with the mediator without parents present. First, the mediator will explain confidentiality. Then, the child or children can talk to the mediator about how they are experiencing the situation they are in, what is working well and what is difficult, and how they are feeling. Finally, they agree on what will be conveyed to their parents. This can be as much or as little as the child or children wish. Siblings can decide whether they want to be seen separately or together, or a mixture of the two.
a mediation session where partners are talking

After The Child-Only Meeting

Parents and the mediator meet to discuss the views and comments of the child or children and make informed decisions based on them. Parents may need to prepare for difficult feedback from the children. This can be done in individual or joint sessions.

It is important to understand that Child Inclusive Mediation is not counselling. It is an opportunity for children to express their feelings and talk about their experiences in a safe and supported environment, but not delve into them deeply.

If your child needs more support, counselling may be helpful for them. This can be accessed through private services, but is also often available to children through their school’s Early Help scheme, upon request. Additionally, services can be accessed through the NHS by GP referral. Some services also accept referrals from parents. You will also find contact information for organisations that provide emotional support for adults and children on our resources page here. 

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Child Inclusive mediation

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