- Explain the Process: I always start by explaining my role and the purpose of our meeting in simple, understandable terms. It is essential that the child understands that this is their time, their space, and their opportunity to share.
- Build Rapport: I engage with the child in a friendly, non-judgmental manner, often starting with neutral topics such as school or hobbies to build a connection.
- Listen Actively: When the child begins to share, I listen intently and validate their feelings. Active listening creates trust and makes children feel valued (Moore, 2013).
- Reassure Confidentiality: I reassure the child that their privacy will be respected and clearly outline what will and won’t be shared with their parents. This encourages more candid communication.
- Maintain Neutrality: Throughout the process, I ensure I remain neutral. Children need to know that this space is free from parental conflict.
When these conditions are met, the child’s voice can truly be heard. Research indicates that this not only aids in successful mediation but also benefits the child’s emotional wellbeing (McIntosh, 2007).
While creating a safe space isn’t the sole solution to the complexities of child-inclusive mediation, it forms a significant cornerstone of the approach. It is through this space that children’s voices become a pivotal part of shaping their future family arrangements – a principle at the heart of child-inclusive mediation.
Bachelor of Social Work