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)

Family
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 

Young Children
Two of Everything Babette Cole
The Nubbler Pam Ayres
Who’s in a Family? Robert Skutch
Dinosaurs Divorce Laurene Kransny-Brown and Marc Brown

 

Children (6 years up)
I Have 2 Homes Althea
The Suitcase Kid Jacqueline Wilson
Lizzie Zipmouth Jaqueline Wilson
Since Dad Left Caroline Binch
How do I feel about my Parents’ Divorce Julia Cole
How do I feel about my Step Family Julie Johnson
The Huge Bag of Worries Virginia Ironside
What do we think about Family Break-up? Jillian Powell
Splitting Up Karen Bryant-Mole
Mike’s Lonely Summer Carolyn Nystrom

 

Young people/teens
My Family and Other Natural Disasters Barbara Park (fiction)
My Mother got Married (and other disasters) Barbara Park (fiction)
Help, Hope and Happiness Libby Rees
Your Dad, my Mum Hazel Townson
Steptrouble William L Coleman
Divorce is not the end of the World Zoe and Evan Stern
Children Don’t Divorce Rosemary Stones

 

Parents
Parent Problems Bren Neale and Amanda Wade
Parent Problems 2 Bren Neale and Jennifer Flowerdew
We’re Talking About Divorce Anne Charlish