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Child Centered mediation

What is Child Centered Mediation?

Its an approach that focuses on the best interests of the children involved. Whether we are talking about a divorce, non-married parent dispute or even a guardianship or adoption case, we ask the adults in the room to focus on the children, who are not in the room.

The mediator might as a question as simple as “Tell me about your child(ren)”. This helps us get insight into the situation. Age, likes, dislikes, strengths, as well as challenges. It can also help ground the adults in the children’s lives. It also gives the mediator an opportunity to hear not only differences in perspective from the parents or other loved ones, but oftentimes shines a light on common ground as well.

Keeping in mind that what is best for the children might not be what the options currently on the table are. Or even what might be considered fair to the parents…the key is what is in the child’s best interest.

Consider a scenario where one parent is proposing a schedule such as:

Parenting time with P2-One night a week and every other weekend (this is something that many people have heard so is often a default position). Consider this schedule for a toddler or child on the Autism Spectrum who has difficulty with transitions. Is that what might be best for this child or might something else work better for that child, a schedule with less transitions that would also work for the parents.

Always being mindful that what is best for one child might not be best for all and they can have different schedules.

Or perhaps a scenario where the only minor child left in the home is a teenager with activities after-school, strong and supportive social group and a job afterschool or on weekends and P2 lives in another City/Town, away from these people and activities. The parents should consider in their discussions how the schedule they workout will impact their child in these areas.

In a discussion about how the parents will communicate regarding the children, P1 might suggest that the child deliver messages back and forth between P1 and P2. This, however, puts the child right in the middle of their conflict. The mediator might point this out and ask, “What are some other ways you might communicate?” the mediator might even be able to share what has worked for other families in your position.

I can help you work through your issues while focusing on the children in your family.

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