What kids really want

Is for their parents to love one another for ever and ever.  And ever.  For those of us who are fortunate enough to have parents to have done just that, then it is hard to imagine how it must really feel if the two people you love the most, just don’t love each other anymore.

That’s not to say that children will thank you later on in life for staying with your ex ‘just for them’. Nor will they congratulate you both one day in the future for battling through an unhappy marriage ‘for the sake of the kids’.  They certainly will not do that. What they will do however, is often not tell you what it is they really want from you. They will feel that they are stuck in the middle between you both, quite literally. They won’t want to hurt either of you. They want to tell you things you would like to hear.  Often, even in the best of situations, children of divorcing parents ‘just get on with it’ and so very often parents will say that they are ‘fine – and doing really well’.

When parents are divorcing, their emotional response is often to ‘never want to see /hear/speak to [delete as required] THAT wo/man again….EVER’.   That’s a bit extreme, but holds true in some situations.  It is hard for parents working through their own emotions to be present and emotionally available for their children. Its rather ironic how as adults we can easily slip into what can often be (retrospectively) seen as ‘childish’ behaviour.  Just when we need to be the best adult we can be.

The last thing your children need from you just now is your inner child. Really they need you as a parent.  To be there for them as parents on the same team, not as opposite numbers but on the ‘same side’. They need you to be ok with the other parent.  They don’t need the world from you, to be ‘super Dad or Mum’ because generally, in their eyes, you already are.

They just need to be children rather than the children of divorce.  It can help when children are able to voice their own thoughts on the arrangements being made for them between their parents.  It is now good practice for mediators to encourage those who are involved in mediation to consider the children’s wishes and feelings. In fact, all children and young people aged 10 and above should be offered the opportunity to have their voices heard directly during the mediation, if they wish and where appropriate.

If you would like more information about how your children’s voices can be heard in family mediation, please telephone our offices on 01279 211 657 to speak to one of our accredited specialist mediators qualified to consult with children, for a fully confidential, no obligation discussion of your needs.


Carolyn Hanes
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