In order to give your child or children a voice in the mediation process, we may recommend that they become involved, not directly but through a process called Child Inclusive practice.
Click here for a fact sheet on child informed mediation.
Each child (they must be school aged to participate) will speak with a trained child consultant independently in an environment that is neutral allowing them to share their thoughts and feelings about the separation and their living arrangements. Children generally don’t want to hurt one or both parents by sharing how they really feel. The introduction of a child consultant provides the space for them to speak openly.
Once your children have all met with the consultant, feedback is provided back to you and your partner within a mediation session and then used to help make decisions about parenting arrangements, communication styles, schooling and a whole range of other issues which may be brought to the table.
Children add a heightened level of emotional complexity to a separation or divorce. Based on our experience, we have watched clients transition from warring couples about their children’s future to two people who are able to be amicable for the sake of their children. The more they practice the easier, it becomes. In essence they fake it until they make it.
It is for this reason that we strongly recommend separating couples with children seek the assistance of a mediator. Research shows the repercussions of ongoing conflict on children can sometimes last a lifetime, which is also why resolving the situation as peacefully and quickly as possible is so important.