Benefits of mediation for children and separated parents

Benefits of mediation for children and separated parents

When a child comes from a broken home it is usually in its best interests to maintain a healthy constant relationship with both parents. In many cases where a relationship has failed there is the option of family mediation.

Family mediation

The main aim of mediation is to resolve conflicts, reach a mutual understanding and settle on an agreement concerning the welfare of the child or children. The goal is to ensure the child feels more secure in its relationship with both parents, reaching a mutual understanding based on the ideal scenario: that mother and father will always be there for the child.

In many cases the conflict surrounding the breakdown of a relationship can have an unsettling and detrimental effect on the health of the child or children involved. According to research by the Economic and Social Research Council, some children are affected badly by conflicts between parents.

If children blame themselves for the conflict, says the report, behavioural problems can arise, whereas if they feel threatened by the situation, emotionally or physically, depression can result.

The research also found that girls are at a higher risk of developing depression if there is a hostile relationship between parents.

Psychological damage

Professor Gordon Harold of the University of Leicester believes the paper highlights the importance of intervention to lower the risk of psychological damage.

CAFCASS’s booklet, Time for Children, states that children are more likely to be damaged by a persistent state of conflict in the household than they are by separation. It also gives advice on coping strategies for parents without further harming their children.

Some cases of familial conflict benefit from meeting with an impartial mediator where matters can be resolved with no need to attend court. However, it should be noted that even if matters are not resolved and a court hearing is necessary, there is no guarantee an absent parent will stick to any arrangements that are put in place.