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CHILD INCLUSIVE MEDIATION

Child Inclusive Mediation is a process that allows children to express their concerns and worries when their parents are undergoing mediation. The mediator ensures that children do not feel pressured to take sides or feel responsible for making any decisions. Under the Family Mediation Council Code of Practice for Family Mediators, all mediators should explain to parents and carers that children and young people aged 10 and above have the right to be offered the opportunity to have their voices heard during mediation.

 

Children can sometimes be unsure or have mixed feelings about their parents separating. They can find it hard to explain their feelings to their parents for fear of upsetting them. Research has shown that during and after separation, children want their parents to reassure them that life will go on and be fine, that they are not to blame for the split, and that they are going to work together for them. Research has also shown that children want to have a say and they benefit from having a voice during any parental conflict.

Children Reading

At Pax Mediation, we are specially trained to meet with your children. Child Inclusive Mediation is governed under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and The Children's Act, 1989. The legislation highlights how the “ascertainable wishes and feelings” of the child should always be considered, and how children have a right to be heard in family proceedings. Therefore, children can speak to the mediator, but only if both of their parents agree to the meeting.

The Child Inclusive Mediation Process

Both parents are required to attend the first mediation session where they identify the issues they want to address in mediation. During this meeting, they may decide to involve their child/children in the mediation process. If both parents agree, the mediator will send an invitation to the child/children to attend a confidential meeting with them. Child Inclusive Mediation proceeds only if both parents and the child/children wish to engage with it.

 

The child/children are not obligated to attend this meeting and are informed of this. If they choose to attend, they will meet with the mediator alone, without either parent present. During this meeting, the child/children will have the opportunity to express their views on the family situation and any issues they are facing. Their opinions are valued and respected, and there is no pressure on them to make any decisions.

 

Parents are advised to refrain from pressuring, briefing, or asking their child any probing questions before or after the meeting with the mediator. During the meeting, the child/children will decide with the mediator what, if anything, they want to share with their parents. The session is confidential to the child, subject to safety exceptions, and no written reports are provided to the parents or any other party.

What are the benefits of child inclusive mediation?

Research suggests that children often feel stuck in the middle when their parents separate. Even when there is no visible conflict between the parents, children may feel obligated to choose a side or worry that expressing their true feelings might hurt one of their parents. Child-inclusive mediation provides an opportunity for children to meet with an impartial individual who will listen to them and allow them to express their wishes and feelings. In this way, children remain in control of what is said to their parents, which can empower them and help them feel more in control of their future.

 

Parents can benefit from child-inclusive mediation as well, as they can receive clear feedback about their child's feelings and wishes, which can help them make informed decisions. It is common for children to say one thing to one parent and something different to the other parent, which can unintentionally fuel further conflict between parents. Child-inclusive mediation can help clear up this confusion, allowing parents to make informed decisions that are best for their children.

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CLIENT FEEDBACK

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"Relaxed environment, very open communication. Easy to speak to the mediator. Would recommend their services."

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"Oliver was amazing. Talked me through the whole process and awnsered all my questions. Very patient when my daughter needed me and understanding."

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"Very understanding and willing to listen to what you want and decide. Non judgemental."

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