Frequently Asked Questions
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Parents & Parenting Introduction
As a parent, if you face divorce or separation, the impact on your child is one of your main concerns because you know that your child, as well as you, feels the stress and confusion of the changes you are all going through. It can be particularly hard to talk to your ex about any concerns you might have about your children at this time.
Family mediation will help you communicate with your ex and help you both make a plan for supporting your children through your family transition.
Many children feel angry, sad or frustrated about the prospect of their parents splitting up and are uncertain what life will be like in future.
You can influence the impact of your separation on your child by focusing on your ability to:
- Communicate successfully with your child.
- Meet their needs for safety, security and support.
- Take care of yourself.
- Maintain a civil relationship with your ex.
These things will all have a positive effect on your child. Given the right support, your child will be able to express their feelings and grieve their loss. They will be better able to emerge from this unsettling time stronger, and more resilient.
One of the most helpful ways of reassuring your child about future plans and arrangements is to include them in your mediation.
It can be very helpful to involve children directly in your mediation process: use this link to read about child-inclusive mediation.
And watch this video to learn of Tom’s experience of being included in his parent’s mediation sessions.
Key messages from recent research from Exeter University show that :
- Children want a voice in key decision making when their parents separate
- Having your voice heard in mediation is empowering and cathartic
- Speaking to an empathetic third party provided an opportunity to discuss things children felt unable to raise with their parents
- Inclusion in mediation signalled parents cared about their opinion, helped them understand options and improved children’s communication with parents
Family mediation helps parents stay in touch with their child after separation or divorce because it increases their ability to communicate with each other. That doesn’t mean parents have to be close with each other after they separate but in mediation they can find a new way of communicating now they are separated.
However you feel about your ex, you both remain parents to your child, regardless of your new situation. If you are to ensure your child grows up with a positive relationship with both of you, that means shaping a completely different relationship with your ex. One that some people compare to having a ‘business’ relationship, where the focus is your joint parenting responsibilities.
Studies have found that parents who attend family mediation rather than court after divorce have significantly better long-term relationships with their children.
Children say they don’t like to take sides or like being put in a position to have to choose between their parents. What they do say is they want to have a voice in their family’s changing structure. They also say it’s their life too and these changes affect them. The best way you can help them with this is by including them in your mediation.
Our expert mediators are trained to talk to children whose parents are going through a divorce so it may help them, and you, find a way through your family changes.
If you want to know more about how family mediation can help you take the next steps in your life after separation or divorce use this link.