Choosing child-inclusive mediation
Fourteen parents who had undertaken child-inclusive mediation, and a comparison group of 19 parents who had engaged in mediation without their children being involved, were asked about their views on utilising child- inclusive mediation to assist in the resolution of their disputes concerning parenting arrangements after separation. Most of the comparison group had not been offered the option of child-inclusive mediation either because it was not available in their area, or because the children were too young, or for other reasons, but would have chosen it had it been offered. Parents gave five reasons for wanting child-inclusive mediation. These were: the therapeu- tic benefit for the children in talking to someone; finding out how the children were feeling; giving the children a voice in the resolution of the dispute; to gain assurance that what the child was saying to that parent is the same as he or she would say to an independent person; and helping the other parent to hear what the child wanted. This research demonstrates the importance of providing clear explanations to parents about the purpose of child-inclusive mediation.