My name's Alex and I’m a mediator at the Broadmeadows Family Relationship Centre
What does mediation offer parents?
Separation is often the worst time of life for parents and arguing about children's arrangements can cause a great deal of stress and conflict.
Separation is also very stressful for your children, but we'll talk about how to help them in the next video.
There's grief after separation and phases of denial anger sadness and depression over time many parents start to rebuild their lives and see new possibilities. In the meantime, they must work out how to co-parent. We can't alleviate the pain of separation, but we can help you with ways to resolve conflict and to co-parent successfully.
Parenting styles through mediation
There are three main parenting styles that people bring to mediation.
The first is where separation has been amicable, and parents remain friendly working together to make agreements that support the children and suit both families is relatively easy for some fortunate parents this is a natural way forward.
The second way is conflicted parenting. For a minority of parents conflict remains high and lasts over years parents can struggle to let go of the relationship but replace the love and trust they once felt with hatred blame and constant fighting.
At worst, these parents can spend years in and out of court locked in a battle that is very costly, emotionally and financially for everyone. Ongoing parental conflict can have a significant impact on children and their future health, well-being and opportunities.
The third option is the most common. A business-like parenting arrangement. Being business-like means, we can negotiate workable arrangements with people, whether we like them or not. In your case the discussions with your ex-partner are about the business of co-parenting your children.
Parents learn to manage their own feelings and to separate them from the task of working out a parenting plan that can meet most of the family's needs. If negotiations are considered and respectful the agreements will be strong and workable.
The purpose of attending mediation is often to develop a parenting plan. Having a written parenting plan relieves stress and difficulties. You don't have to negotiate arrangements every week with the other parent.
Changeovers can be a stressful time for parents and children. A parenting plan can ensure where changeover happens, what's okay to talk about at changeover and how you'll ease the way for your children to move comfortably between both your homes placing the focus on making things work.
In mediation we encourage all parents to be civil, to put forward the best options from your point of view and to try to understand the other parent’s point of view. You might not see eye to eye but solid agreements are best reached when you can both be reasonable and flexible.
Issues that impact parenting
There are issues that can impact individuals and families, for example family violence occurs in many families.
Family violence includes behaviours such as – Physical sexual and psychological abuse. – Emotional verbal and financial abuse. - Threats controlling behaviours stalking and belittling.
If you are affected by or use family violence, we can help by referring you to specialised services.
Additionally, many of you will have intervention orders in place. Many intervention orders will still allow for mediation and written child arrangements to occur. However, some will not if there are issues around family violence or intervention orders for your family, we may do a number of things:
- Refer you to other services for support.
- Refer you to free legal advice.
- Alter the way our services are delivered to ensure all parties have an opportunity to participate, feel heard and feel safe.
Your relationship might be over, but you are a parent forever, so let us help you build a strong co-parenting relationship, so your children can thrive.
For more information call (03) 9351 3700.