Top Tips from children of separated parents
The Family Justice Young People’s Board has collated top tips from children of separated parents
As a Child Inclusive mediator, children often give me “feedback” for their parents of how things are going and what they might like done differently. Often what the children say has a huge impact on how parents manage things into the future. I would love to bottle much of what the children tell me, to help other divorcing parents whose children I might not get a chance to meet, but those meetings are confidential to that child.
Helpfully for me the Family Justice Young People’s Board has collated that very information of what children would say and their top tips. The Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB)is a group of over 40 children and young people aged between 8 and 25 years old who live across England. All members have either had direct experience of the family justice system or have an interest in children’s rights and the family courts. They have devised the list of top tips for parents to help them think about matters from their child’s perspective. This can be found on their website, along with lots of other top tips for parents and professionals. www.cafcass.gov.uk/family-justice-young-peoples-board/top-tips-for-professionals/
In essence, and as partly shown on the graphic attached, the tips are:-
•Remember I have the right to see both of my parents as long as it is safe for me.
•I can have a relationship with the partner of my other parent without this changing my love for you.
•Try to have good communication with my other parent because it will help me. Speak to them nicely.
•Keep my other parent updated about my needs and what is happening for me. I might need their help too.
•Don’t say bad things about my other parent, especially if I can hear. Remember I can often overhear your conversations or see your social media comments.
•Remember it is ok for me to love and have a relationship with my other parent.
•Don’t make me feel guilty about spending time with my other parent.
•Don’t make permanent decisions about my life based on how you feel at the moment. Think about how I feel now and how I might feel in the future. My wishes might change.
•Be open to change, be flexible and compromise when agreeing arrangements for me.
•Its ok with me if my parents don’t do things exactly the same. You are both different and that’s alright with me.
•Don’t be possessive over me and the things that belong tome. Make it easy for me to take the things I need when I spend time with my other parent, such as school work, PE kits, clothes, books, games, phone etc. Let me choose what I want to take with me.
•Keep me informed about any changes to my arrangements.
•Try not to feel hurt if I choose to spend time with my friends instead of seeing you. I am growing up!
•Remember that important dates (birthdays, celebrations, parents evening, sports day etc) are special to you, me and my other parent. I may want to share my time on those dates with each of you.
•Work out between you and my other parent who is responsible for the extra things I need, such as new school shoes and uniform, school trips, dinner money and the cost of my hobbies or after school activities. I don’t want to be involved in this.
•Remember that I don’t expect you or my other parent to be perfect, so I don't want you to expect my other parent to be perfect either. Accept mistakes and move on.
•Make sure I am not left out of key family events. Please compromise with my other parent so I can join in.
•Please don’t stop me having contact with extended family members who are important to me. Ask me how I feel about them. Don’t assume my feelings are the same as yours.
•Don’t use me as a messenger between you and my other parent.
•Don’t use my relationship with my other parent against me, or them.
•Don’t ask me to lie to my other parent or other family members.
•Don’t ask me to lie to professionals, or to say what you want me to say.
•Don't make me scared to say what I think about my arrangements for fear of being told off or treated badly by you if you don't agree.
•Remember that I might want something different to my brother or sister. Don’t worry about how others see you or what they think. I am what matters.
At Family Mediation and Mentoring LLP, we work with separated parents to help them make plans about the arrangements for their children, which can then be put into a parenting plan or court order, if needed. Discussing these issues in mediation can help parents reach an amicable agreement, reduce their legal fees and stay out of court.
If you would like more information about how mediation can help you reach an agreement and stay out of court you may find that some of the information on our website is helpful – www.familymediationandmentoring.co.uk On our website you can also book a free call using our calendar booking system so that you can ask us any questions that you may have. Or give is a call or drop us an email; 0800206 2258 or firstname.lastname@example.org