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Family Mediation Week – Wednesday’s focus: conversations about children

As part of Family Mediation Week we will be sharing a blog on each of our daily topics.  These blogs are written by Louisa Whitney from LKW Family Mediation, an FMC Accredited and Child Inclusive Mediator and Professional Practice Consultant.  We will also be busting a myth in each blog as there are many misconceptions around the family mediation process and we’re keen to use this week to share correct and clear information.

Instead of a myth here are some facts that came out of the recent survey of separated parents for Resolution as part of their Good Divorce Week initiative:

 1/3 of separated or divorced parents said they found it harder to keep child contact arrangements in place since the pandemic began.

  • 1 in 10 parents said their children had become prone to violent outbursts.
  • 1 in 7 said their children displayed anti-social behaviour since breaking up with their ex-partner
  • ¼ of parents said their children showed a loss of confidence and a similar proportion said their children had suffered from depression due to family breakdown.
  • 2/3 of separated parents said they lacked help or advice about how to put their children first when they split from their partner.

It is being caught up in their parents conflict that causes issues for children, rather than the separation in itself.  Here are four tips to help you avoid pulling your children into your conflict:

  1. Reassure your children that they are loved by both parents. They were before the separation and that won’t change.
  2. Be clear with both your words AND your actions that your children are free to enjoy their relationship with their other parent. You may feel differently about your ex-partner following the separation but your children still see them as their same mum or dad.
  3. Try to always speak positively about your children’s other parent in front of them.  If you’re finding this hard then find some words that will hold a situation (I know you want to talk about this but I’m also thinking about something else so could we talk later) rather than being triggered into talk negatively.
  4. Consider working with a family mediator who can create a safe space for you to have discussions about arrangements for your children. They will be able to inform your discussions with information on how best to support your children and signpost you to support for you and your children where it’s needed.

 For more information find a mediator local to you and ask them any questions that you have.