Children in Mediation (referred to as CIM) enables separated parents to focus on and give a voice to their children.
This form of mediation should be child centred to promote both the safeguarding and welfare of every child. It can enable that child to have a voice.
For parents, this form of mediation enables their children to be spoken to sensitively and respectfully by trained and qualified mediators.
However, the decisions that are made are still made by the parents and not the child.
Child Mediation is generally considered appropriate for children over the ages of ten and there is what is known as the “Gillick competencies” to make sure that a child understands what is going on and that they can also express themselves in a way that can be understood.
Children in Mediation can help both parents and children in the following ways:
- Mediation is voluntary, neutral and impartial and can enable all perspectives and views to be heard and expressed.
- The intention is to enable children to explore their wishes and feelings in a safe space where there is time for that child to express how they feel. Their conversations with the mediator are confidential except where any safeguarding requires that this be reported.
- Any child’s views are taken seriously but importantly, that child can decide how much or how little they want their parents to hear, if at all.
- A parent can use this process to understand and to “hear” what their child really thinks because their children are expressing their views to a neutral third party. The mediator will agree what is to be said and how it is to be said. For parents, this can also mean that they may hear things that they may not want to hear, or indeed like hearing.
- Ultimately though, the decisions around what happens would remain with the parents and not the child – there are no guarantees as to the outcomes of the mediation for the child or their parents. However, the benefit is that a child can choose to feedback to their parents in a way that they may have not been able to communicate with them before; and for the parents, to know that their children may well have a different perspective than them.
Get in Touch
Paul Wild, our Family Partner, is a trained mediator. If you have any questions regarding mediation or would like to book a session with Paul please contact him on 0118 958 9711 or email him at Paul@barrettandco.co.uk.