Divorcing parents can be a very difficult experience for some children. Taking steps to help them cope with the changes involved is crucial.
Family mediation improves communication and helps families move forward without the expense and worry of high legal fees and going to Court.
Below are eight ways in which family mediation can help parents support children during this difficult time.
Children who are encountering a family break-up may become covert, often shying away and hiding their emotions. Therefore, many parents are not aware of the true extent of their child’s suffering. Family mediation helps parents become more aware of what their children are going through and what support they might need. As a child’s emotions are identified, parents can help them emerge from divorce feeling loved, reassured and supported.
Divorce is difficult to cope with for any child and many children will react differently according to their age, gender and how the family is structured. Family mediation helps parents detect reactions according to their child’s stage of development. A mediator can help parents find ways to deal with each individual child’s needs, continuing to strengthen stability and reassurance in the family home.
During divorce children often feel that they are experiencing several losses. As well as losing the family structure as they knew it, they are also afraid of losing the security of each parent which can cause children to feel a great loss and a sense of abandonment. During this period, children can feel very isolated and alone, therefore it is crucial for parents to co-operate with their children to ensure that they feel loved and secure. Co-operation welcomes children to open-up and express their feelings, helping them to understand the situation better.
Accepting that both parents will need to communicate for the sake of the children can be difficult. Family mediation helps parents learn how to communicate amicably and calmly, avoiding conflict for the sake of the child. A mediator will provide tips on how to maintain a relationship which is consistent and stress-free, allowing each parent to accept each other’s continuing role in their children’s lives.
Once conflict has been resolved, parents can begin to discuss what arrangements will benefit the child. Family mediation helps parents identify what areas of parenting can be entrusted to each parent. As divorce is an unsettling period for children, they need routine and structure to make the situation more controlled and less uncertain. Family mediation allows parents to consider arrangements that will keep them free from conflict.
After divorce children need to be financially supported as well as emotionally supported. A mediator will help parents discuss and secure the interim financial arrangements while the final settlement is agreed.
Talking to children about how their lives are going to change can be a difficult task for parents, especially as they will also be scared of how this change will affect their own lives. Mediators will help parents prepare significantly before the ‘talk,’ helping them prepare for tough questions whilst dealing with their own anxieties. Family mediation will help both parents and children acknowledge change and how to embrace it.
Some parents feel that it is beneficial to allow their children to be directly involved in family mediation. Sessions will provide children with the opportunity to express their true feelings and thoughts about their parent’s separation.
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