What do you think your children’s main concerns are?
What do you think your children need from each of you to make things work better for them?
What sense do you think the children are making of what’s happening between you?
These may be just some questions which you find yourself thinking and you may not know how to go about finding the answers without causing stress and anxiety. You may have been through a divorce and realised that your children were overlooked in the process, or you are noticing that your child is not adjusting as you hoped they would and want to address this or you may just need help understanding what your children may be going through by someone who is outside of the family, professional but totally child focused.
I am passionate about giving children a voice where it is appropriate and helpful to do so. When you are going through a separation or divorce, it is easy to be caught up in getting through each day and your own difficulties, that the feelings and interests of your children can easily get overlooked.
Statistics obtained over the years show that only a small minority of children when their parents have separated think they were given a full explanation. 1 in 4 say no one talked to them about the separation at the time. Having watched the BBC documentary ‘mum and dad are splitting up’ I couldn’t help but feel sad that so many children wanted their parents to have communicated better with each other and them to manage their separation differently. Child consultation in mediation offers this opportunity.
Separation or divorce is not a single event. It is a process which usually begins with a build up of emotions and tensions before the physical separation begins when the whole family will need to begin a period of adjustment. This can take many months or years and not all members of the family will adjust in the same way or at the same time. Adjustment for children does not follow a linear pattern but a circular one. Parents can be unaware of their children’s feelings about what is happening to them because often children do not want to be seen as a burden.
I provide a safe and confidential space for a child to be individually seen. I will hear about his or her feelings, fears, concerns, perspectives and considerations in relation to their experience of the family changes happening for them. It is an opportunity for your children’s voice to be heard and by someone who is calm, approachable, professional but completely child focused.
I know that children are all individuals and vary considerably in their reactions to stress and to separation or divorce. I offer an opportunity for your child or children to be seen by her, as an experienced mediator separately trained to consult directly with children where I speak to your children without questioning them to find out their wishes and feeling. I will report back to you, at a separately organised meeting without your child present, only what I have been given permission by your child to say. Your child’s confidentiality will be scrupulously respected by me (with the exception of any child protection concerns) and I will only consult with a child if you both agree it is right for your children and I consider it is appropriate.