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Family Mediator receives accreditation for Child Inclusive Mediation

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Sam Miles, Family Mediator and Partner at Warner Goodman, has recently received accreditation to practice Child Inclusive Mediation, a unique qualification held by only a small number of Family Mediators in Hampshire.  Sam explains here why she completed the course, and how allowing children’s voices to be heard during disagreements can give parents real insight into how their actions impact their child, helping them come to amicable agreements.

What is Child Inclusive Mediation?

Family mediation is a highly successful technique for parents to come to agreements over arrangements for their children following a separation.  “While some parents can come to these agreements amicably, other parents cannot do so, most likely because their separation was a particularly painful one,” explains Sam.  “A Family Mediator will spend time with both parents in a neutral environment for them to discuss their situation with an independent person, and hopefully reach a resolution.  Under normal accreditation, this can only be done with the parents, however Child Inclusive Mediation allows for the children to meet with the Mediator, on their own without the parents.  Parents are in family mediation to make arrangements for their children, so what could be better than putting the child and how they feel at the heart of those discussions?”

How does Child Inclusive Mediation work?

The process is straight forward for Child Inclusive Mediation; once both parents agree to their Mediator meeting with their child, the Mediator will write to the child inviting them to a meeting explaining that both of their parents want to involve them in the decisions made about their future and want to find out how they can make the right decisions for them.  If the child agrees, they inform their parents who contact the Mediator to then set up a meeting.  The meeting can be completely confidential if the child wishes, or they can choose which elements of their meeting are fed back to their parents.  The only time confidentiality would be breached is if the Mediator feels the child is at risk.

“Sometimes even if the child wishes for everything to remain confidential, just speaking to an independent person in a neutral, relaxing environment can be extremely helpful to release any stress they may be feeling,” continues Sam.  “A Family Mediator must be accredited in order to complete the Direct Consultation with Children Course.  I became accredited a number of years ago and found this next step in family mediation incredibly interesting and powerful.  The course explained the process of how to invite a child to mediation, what signs to look for that may indicate that Child Inclusive Mediation would be of benefit to the family, as well as the theory and extensive research conducted about the effects of parental separation on children.”

Why choose Child Inclusive Mediation?

“These meetings with the child are not to interrogate them, they are simply to listen to how they are feeling and can provide another perspective to their parents,” continues Sam.  “Children are extremely perceptive about how one parent may feel about the other; even just a look can give negative signals to a child.  They will feel caught in the middle between parents and torn by their loyalties.  This will lead to unnecessary stress, something a child should never have to experience and research has shown can lead to untold problems in their future.  Being given the opportunity to hear how their actions are impacting their children, however unintentional they are or however hard it is to hear, is incredibly powerful for parents going through family mediation.”

Sam concludes, “A child will inevitably feel stress when their parents first separate; parental harmony is of paramount importance following a separation to reduce those stress levels and help the child adjust to a different life.”

If you are interested in finding out how Family Mediation or Child Inclusive Mediation could help resolve your conflicts following a separation, visit the Family Mediation page on the website here, email Sam at mediation@warnergoodman.co.uk or call 02380 717431.


This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.