“Parents and children alike often express a concern that children’s voices be heard in a process that will ultimately make decisions that greatly affect them.”
Why include Children in the Process?
Promoting children’s participation in decision making is a relatively recent development in the family law field. Parents and children alike often express a concern that children’s voices be heard in a process that will ultimately make decisions that greatly affect them. At the same time care needs to be taken that parents remain the ultimate decision makers and that children are insulated from the conflict in the parent’s relationship. Research regarding children’s desire to be included suggests that they want to be kept informed and want their needs and interests to be heard. Traditional methods commonly employed to include children’s voices can be expensive, adversarial, and highly intrusive for parents and children. Including children in the process of mediation or in the Solution Focused Co-parenting Education process can provide an affordable, safe and private alternative to those traditional methods.
In Child Inclusive Mediation children are given a voice in the mediation process. Children are very often aware of their parent’s disputes over custody and often wish to be heard without being asked to decide between one parent or the other. Additionally, children are often fearful about a court or judge (who are strangers from your child’s perspective) making decisions about their lives. Our mediators have training and experience in interviewing children and we provide a safe, impartial, and private setting for children to communicate their needs and preferences regarding their family situation. Child Inclusive Mediation allows parents to give their children a voice in the decision making in a less costly and less intrusive way than other processes commonly used by the courts.
In Child Inclusive Solution Focused Co-Parenting Education children are interviewed by the Co-parenting educator/mediator in a safe and private setting. Hearing the children’s perspective can help the Co-parenting educator/mediator and the co-parents better understand what is working and not working in the parents efforts to co-parent while insulating the child from the parental conflict. This can be a powerful tool in helping co-parents stay focused on the needs and best interest of their children in the decision making process.