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child mediation process

Kids in Mediation?

Parents frequently come to mediation with the mistaken presumption that a mediator’s task is to settle a dispute. When the conflict is regarding custody or time-sharing, parents typically have opposite views of what they believe their children desire and ask the mediator to talk to the children. For various factors, confronting a child with such a concern can put the child into a hazardous psychological position:

  1. Kids need to know they have parents they can depend upon to make good decisions for them.
  2. Children ought to not be asked questions that force them to select between their parents.
  3. Kids are often too immature to understand what remains in their benefits. They ‘d love to be with the moms and dad who will let them have chocolate cake for breakfast.
  4. Kids have great difficulty frustrating a parent they are entirely dependent upon.
  5. Children are often “ready” to tell the mediator what the moms and dad wants.
  6. Children fear retribution (real or imagined).

Contrary to common belief, there is no age when the child can legally choose where s/he wants to live. Recognizing the age of majority as the legal ability to choose house and the potential emotional damage to a child, judges do not like to see children in the courtroom. They often prefer to do it in chambers and might hold it against parents and their attorneys if they talk to a child.

When a mediator fulfills with the children, there are proper times. A mediator may wish to get specific input from the kids about how Mother and father can best help them through this time. Some common problems are: “Make them stop combating.” “We’re tired of tuna noodle casseroles.” “Papa keeps asking me what’s going on between Mom and her boyfriend.” “Mama sends messages to Papa through me.”

Another suitable conversation might be to discover their particular vacation desires (” We wish to have Christmas eve with Mother at Granny’s and Christmas day with Daddy.” “We want to have 2 turkey dinners on Thanksgiving.” “I desire my birthday at the pizza parlor so Mom and Dad can both come.”).

A mediator might meet the family after the agreement remains in its last form to
aid describe it to the children.

In general, a child who is 12 years old should have input into his/her residential schedule. A child 15 years old or more must have really strong input. The mediator must make it clear to the child, or preferably to the moms and dads, that we require input from the child, not decisions. If the mediator does not wish to talk with the child, and if the moms and dads can not collect input from the child without compromising him or her, a child’s therapist, or an equally appropriate child advancement expert can typically talk to what remains in that child’s best interests.

Custody Mediation

Prior to talking with children in mediation, the mediator needs to get a contract from the parents concerning the function of collecting information from the child. Invest some time discovering out from both parents what each child is like so you can utilize this information to construct connection when you talk with the child.

Before proceeding, get agreement concerning what the kids are told ahead of time about why they are coming to mediation. The info must be clear (input only) and ideally provided by both parents together. Schedule neutral transportation (both moms and dads, or relied on family good friend).

At the consultation, consult with children and parents together to explain what a mediator does, review ground rules (we require their input not their decision) and explain the requirement for and limits of privacy. Get permission from the parents in front of the kids for the kids to talk openly with the mediator.

Meet with the children together to ensure they understand why they are consulting with you and let them know how you’re going to continue. I find it useful to meet all the kids together, then with each child independently, then reconvene with all the kids again, then meet the parents individually or together with the kids, depending on the details gathered from the kids. When meeting with each child independently, arrange their coming and going so they are not affected by each other or their moms and dads.

When meeting with a child under 9-10, you may discover it valuable to have some art supplies handy. Children generally can express themselves more comfortably when they are playing. After some connection structure, a typical kids’s interview may proceed as follows:

  1. Inform the child what Mother and father told you about him/her (their favorite activities, school subjects, friends, etc), include what the parents said they liked most about the child (affectionate, imaginative, handy, etc.).
  2. Ask what they like about Mom/Dad (do for each moms and dad in turn).
  3. If there is anything they do that Mom/Dad do not like, ask.
  4. Ask if there is anything Mom/Dad do that they don’t like (again, provide for eac parent in turn).
  5. Ask what Dad/Mom can do to make his/her life simpler right now (once again, provide for each moms and dad in turn and consider reversing order).
  6. Let them understand you are dealing with Mother and father on parenting concerns which you need their aid to make good choices. Make it clear that Father and Mother are choosing and their role is provide information (not decisions).
  7. Inquire about a child’s vacation choices.
  8. Ask if there’s anything they want you to inform Mom/Dad.
  9. If there’s anything that you talked about that they don’t desire you to inform Mom and Papa, ask.
  10. Ensure they comprehend what you are going to do with the details they’ve shared. Make plans for a follow-up visit, or call.

When the conflict is relating to custody or time-sharing, parents typically have opposite views of what they believe their kids want and ask the mediator to talk to the kids. The mediator must make it clear to the child, or ideally to the parents, that we need input from the child, not decisions. If the mediator does not desire to talk with the child, and if the parents can not gather input from the child without jeopardizing him or her, a child’s counselor, or a mutually appropriate child advancement expert can typically speak to what is in that child’s best interests.

Before talking with kids in mediation, the mediator needs to get an arrangement from the parents concerning the purpose of collecting info from the child. I find it handy to meet with all the children together, then with each child separately, then reconvene with all the children again, then satisfy with the moms and dads independently or together with the children, depending on the details collected from the children.

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Learn More About MEDIATION From WikiPedia

Mediation is a structured, interactive process where an impartial third party assists disputing parties in resolving conflict through the use of specialized communication and negotiation techniques. All participants in mediation are encouraged to actively participate in the process. Mediation is a “party-centered” process in that it is focused primarily upon the needs, rights, and interests of the parties. The mediator uses a wide variety of techniques to guide the process in a constructive direction and to help the parties find their optimal solution. A mediator is facilitative in that she/he manages the interaction between parties and facilitates open communication. Mediation is also evaluative in that the mediator analyzes issues and relevant norms (“reality-testing”), while refraining from providing prescriptive advice to the parties (e.g., “You should do… .”).

Mediation, as used in law, is a form of alternative dispute resolution resolving disputes between two or more parties with concrete effects. Typically, a third party, the mediator, assists the parties to negotiate a settlement. Disputants may mediate disputes in a variety of domains, such as commercial, legal, diplomatic, workplace, community, and family matters.

The term “mediation” broadly refers to any instance in which a third party helps others reach an agreement. More specifically, mediation has a structure, timetable, and dynamics that “ordinary” negotiation lacks. The process is private and confidential, possibly enforced by law. Participation is typically voluntary. The mediator acts as a neutral third party and facilitates rather than directs the process. Mediation is becoming a more peaceful and internationally accepted solution to end the conflict. Mediation can be used to resolve disputes of any magnitude.

The term “mediation,” however, due to language as well as national legal standards and regulations is not identical in content in all countries but rather has specific connotations, and there are some differences between Anglo-Saxon definitions and other countries, especially countries with a civil, statutory law tradition.

Mediators use various techniques to open, or improve, dialogue and empathy between disputants, aiming to help the parties reach an agreement. Much depends on the mediator’s skill and training. As the practice gained popularity, training programs, certifications, and licensing followed, which produced trained and professional mediators committed to the discipline.

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