Lisa Parkinson, Family Mediation Trainer
Many children and young people want their concerns and suggestions taken into account during parental separation and divorce, but do not know who will listen to them. Children need supportive conversations in language that is free from jargon, age-appropriate and in no way patronising. Adults' doubts and concerns should not deter us from talking with children who are going through difficult experiences. A recent study1 found that having someone to talk to, without being judged, is crucial for a child’s mental health and well-being. The Family Solutions Group2 has called for a holistic framework of services for children and separated parents, including services to provide children and young people with information, consultation, support and representation. Child-inclusive mediation (CiM) offers children and young people opportunities to talk and, at their request, share their concerns and suggestions with their parents. When children feel free to talk and parents become more attuned to their children's needs, there are significant benefits for the family as a whole.
1. Office for National Statistics, Children’s Views on Well-being and What Makes a Happy Life, October 2020
2. Family Solutions Group What About Me? 12 November 2020, available at: https://www.judiciary.uk/publications/what-about-me-reframing-support-for-families-following-parental-separation/
The full article will be published in the December issue of Family Law.