Children and Young People
Children and Young People and their Parents’ Separation
|Children and young people often want to know what’s happening when their parents separate. Some will want to talk about their views of what’s going on, or to talk about how they are feeling.|
How can mediation help?
|Children and young people can find it helpful to speak with someone independent but who is aware of the family’s situation – someone who is trained to listen, such as a family mediator.
Children and young people (of an appropriate age and understanding) can be offered the chance to meet and talk privately with a mediator as part of their parents’ mediation – if they, their parents and the mediator feel it would be helpful. They are only invited to meet with a mediator once their parents have had one or more sessions together in mediation.
|It’s important that young people and children to know that they are not being asked to make decisions – that’s for their parents to do. Young people and children may meet with a mediator to say how they’re feeling about what’s happening and how it’s affecting them. They may decide they do not want anything sharing with their parents or they may agree that some things can be shared..|
Confidentiality and feeding back to parents
|Meetings with children are confidential. What is fed back to parents by the mediator is only what the young person or child agrees can be shared. They may want nothing to be shared with their parents; they may just want the chance to be heard. As with their parents’ mediation, everything they say is confidential (unless there are concerns about anyone’s safety).|
What young people and children have said
|“I love my mum and my dad as much as each other.”
“I don’t like my mum and dad to argue in front of me – it makes me upset and worried.”
“I want my dad and mum to think about me and my life – my friends, my school, my cat.”
“I don’t like it when my parents say bad things about each other. I love them both.”
“Sometimes I want to do something with my friend, so I’d like my parents to change the arrangements if this happens.”
Helpful reading (starter list)
Divorce Janine Amos
My Stepfamily Rosemary Stones
Let’s talk about your Parents’ Divorce Elizabeth Weitzman
It’s Not Your Fault – what to do when your parents’ divorce Rosemary Stones
Children (6 years up)