In some instances, where there are also younger siblings, meetings may also be held with them if they are old enough to understand, if the parents are agreeable and the child is keen to participate.
These voluntary meetings are confidential, but children may ask the mediator to share their concerns with their parents if they feel unable to do so. Children often feel that they need to protect their parents’ feelings, so communicating via a third party is often extremely helpful.
Parents can feel threatened by the idea of their children talking to the mediator about what is happening and they may worry that their child will say they don’t want to spend time with them. Parents should try not to worry and remember that the children are not being asked to decide on the arrangements, they are simply being given the chance to talk about what is happening.
Hazel is trained in child inclusive mediation and will always ensure every child feels safe and comfortable in the environment. Having an informal chat to find out how the child is really feeling can be very valuable, as informing the parents of their child’s true feelings may enable them to make decisions about their future with more confidence.
Child Inclusive Mediation leaflet