When parents’ relationships break down, the aftershock is felt by all those around them. The first to be affected are often the children.
In November last year, Resolution (1) commissioned research which surveyed 14-22 year olds about the effect of their parent’s break-up, asking how it had directly affected them.
The survey uncovered that
- One in five(19%) said they didn’t get the exam results they were hoping
- The majority (65%) said that their GCSE exam results were affected
- 44% said A-levels suffered.
- 15% said they had to move schools, which may have had a knock-on effect on exam results.
Children also experienced difficulties away from the exam room.
- Almost a quarter (24%) said that they struggled to complete homework, essays or assignments. And
- more than one in 10 (11%) said they found themselves “getting into more trouble at school, college or university,” and
- 12% confessed to skipping lessons.
Parents often ask us how they can minimise the effects on children and reduce the impact that their break-up has on their children’s academics and potentially their future career prospects.
At Focus Mediation, our mediators will keep your children firmly in the centre of the picture when discussing divorce and separation. We can help you to help your children in the following ways:
1 By keeping it out of court
Mediation is a way to work out how best to separate in a way which has the least impact on your children. Going to court is hard on those involved and those around them- it’s how you imagine it and ten times worse in terms of stress and often in terms of time spent and costs incurred.
2 Make agreements about what you say and do in front of the children
In mediation we can help you to set ground rules for yourselves about how you will speak to each other and conduct yourselves in front of the children and the extent to which they will be involved in what is going on for you. This is invaluable when feelings are still raw and emotions difficult to contain.
3 Make contact arrangements children-focused
Our mediators can help you to make agreements which meet your interests whilst keeping the wellbeing of your children in the foreground at all times.
It is important that your children have time to study and time to relax as well as spending time with the two of you.
As mediators we will always test with you the reality of any proposals which could inhibit their ability to learn and to flourish. At the very least we can help you to make child-centred arrangements to get your children through this stressful summer period of exam preparation and performance.
It is difficult enough for young people in this academically competitive world where every grade counts. Most parents will fully support the creation of a plan which eases the pain and the difficulties inevitably caused by their break-up which impact on their children.
4 Joined up Parenting
No child likes to be caught between the two opposing views of the people we are closest to. In mediation, we can also help you to smooth out any foreseeable future bumps in the road: we can help you to look at what happens if you disagree on choices your children make, how you want to communicate with each other and the extent to which you can co-parent in a joined up way, even though you are no longer together.
Having safe parameters within which they can operate is also vital for children, particularly as they grow older and behaviour can become more challenging. Remember: any gaps in communication are easy to exploit for a wily teenager!
5 Speaking to your children, enabling their voices to be heard.
Finally, we offer direct consultation with your children, enabling them to have a voice in the changes taking place. We speak confidentially with them, away from mediation and then, with their agreement, feed back to parents what they want them to hear, without fear of taking sides or hurting your feelings.
Because from what we hear when we consult children, they care as much about you as you do about them.
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 the body representing 6,500 family law professionals in England and Wales,