The Benefits of Child Inclusive Mediation
In a leading 2008 Study in Australia 60 children aged 7 to 14 were asked about their experience of being consulted in the course of their parents’ mediation. 86% found the direct consultation to be useful.
The parents involved in the study also reported an improvement in the mediation outcome in terms of reduced levels of acrimony and more enduring mediation outcomes.
The report indicated there was “greater contentment with care and contact arrangements and less inclination to want to change these arrangements; and greater stability of care and contact patterns over the year” for example.
The children in this group were reportedly significantly more content and less inclined to want a different arrangement than those who were not consulted in mediation.
A 4 year follow-up of these parents who engaged in Child Inclusive Mediation indicated continuing advantages flowing from Child-Inclusive Mediation over the longer term (McIntosh et al., 2009).
The impacts of Child-Inclusive Mediation were reported to be most marked for the fathers involved. These reported outcomes were encouraging, and stimulated more widespread use of child inclusive mediation in Australia.
Child Inclusive Mediation is
“a process that ultimately seeks to refocus on the best interests of the child, through higher levels of engagement of their parents’ capacity to think and plan more cooperatively about them.”
Researchers report that
Parental conflict that is enduring and remains unresolved can, and does, seriously harm the social and psychological development of children [McIntosh, 2003: 63-64].
While separation and divorce have an impact on family wellbeing, research also suggests that children’s adjustment after divorce is largely dependent upon the ability of parents to co-operate with one another.
At Horizon it is our experience that introducing the voice of the child can be key to creating a positive and workable co-parenting relationship.
Acknowledgements and References
Jennifer E. McIntosh, Yvonne D. Wells, Bruce M. Smyth, and Caroline M. Long December 2014Journal of Family Studies 13(1):8-25
It helped to have someone listen to what I said, for it to be confidential, but also he would pass on to the parents what I wanted them to know.
We could talk about what was troubling us. We told her that we hate it when Mum and Dad fight around us, and she told them. After, Dad started getting nicer and Mum and Dad did not fight as much, but Dad still doesn’t like coming here, he just drops us off and says ‘See you, girls’.
Each parent has backed off and calmed down a bit. Mum is less stressed the times she takes us over to Dad’s place. I’m spending a bit more time with Dad.