Co-parenting: How can mediation help? Here are six steps that highlight the key role that mediation plays in forming a solid and lasting co-parenting agreement.
- Seek help
Divorce can often be a time of intense feelings for parents, and parents can, quite understandably, lose sight of what is in the best interests of their children. Co-parenting becomes very difficult, when parents’ emotions result in high levels of conflict and they become trapped in a cycle of blame based and angry dialogue.
Mediation can help to diffuse emotions. A mediator will enable parents to engage in constructive dialogue and will help to reduce conflict. Mediators can also work in tandem with therapists to provide support for parents during what is likely to be a very challenging and difficult time.
- Talk to your children
Children want to know what is happening and how this will impact on them. Even children of a young age will pick up on the tensions between their parents and anxiety can arise when they are left in limbo, not knowing what is going on and instead having to guess. Using age appropriate language, parents need to decide what to tell the children, how to tell them and when to do so.
Co-parenting: how can mediation help? By enabling discussion, and keeping it focused on the needs of the children, mediation can help parents work out how best to keep the children informed about what is happening.
- Listen to your children
Children need to be heard. They are likely to have questions about what is going on, and will have views about what they want. Whilst parents will not always agree with their children, it is important to give them a voice. In mediation, children can be given the opportunity to speak with a mediator to express their views. Children will often feel conflicted speaking with their parents and a neutral third party mediator can help by relaying the children’s thoughts and concerns to their parents
- Do not use your children as pawns
In most cases children need to be allowed to have a relationship with both parents. It is not beneficial for the emotional development and well-being of children to be put in a position of having to choose between parents, or being in a situation where they are encouraged to reject one parent, or discouraged to spend time with that parent.
- Do not enlist children as spokespeople
Parents need to find a way of communicating with each other about the children. It is not fair to children to use them to pass messages between parents who ought to shoulder this responsibility themselves. Children are not emotionally equipped to manage their parents’ relationship; Mediation can help parents to redefine their relationship and find a way of communicating with children that is focused on the needs of the children.
- Making and keeping arrangements
Mediators can work with parents to put together a Parenting Agreement, setting out the detailed arrangements for children. The benefits of a Parenting Agreement are that it provides a structure and framework, which gives parents and children clear expectations as well as certainty.
If you want find out more about how mediation can help parents co-parent please contact us by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone to 01923 431601 or 03339 398404.