This is the story of one of our families who were attending the Child Contact Centre, and how they made effective use of mediation. Sophie (not her real name) was around 7 years old, and she was brought to the Centre fortnightly on a Saturday by her Mum, to spend time with her Dad. The situation was very fraught and both parents could be very negative about each other at times, and vocal about the other parent at the handover in the Centre. Sophie was frequently upset.
The parents were referred by the court for mediation to see if the situation could be improved. There were doubts about how productive this would be, given the volatility and high level of conflict.
Prior to the mediation, both parents were offered the opportunity to attend a Parenting Apart session. This is a short (typically 3 hour) information session where parents can find out what they are going through when they are splitting up, what children need from them and how they can help. Dad chose to attend a Parenting Apart group session, Mum chose not to.
At the first joint mediation session Dad spoke about his experience at the Parenting Apart group and how this had made him think. He had some materials in his parents pack from that session which he referred to.
The mediation went well, much better than expected. Dad was using what he had taken from the Parenting Apart session in his language and communication, and his focus on their daughter. Mum was initially suspicious but throughout the mediation she became convinced that Dad was sincere. Dad urged mum to attend a Parenting Apart group also.
The mediator said ‘I believe that Dad’s attendance at Parenting Apart greatly helped him move on and his positive use of language in mediation helped Mum to get on board. They worked together to discuss moving from the Centre.’
This story illustrates how the range of services provided by Relationships Scotland, which includes mediation, work together to provide a holistic and customised package of support for families in the context of separation and divorce.
You can read about another family who attended Parenting Apart, and hear from some parents about their experiences, here: https://www.relationships-scotland.org.uk/family-support/parenting-apart-groups
If you want to read more about our range of support for families go to this link: https://www.relationships-scotland.org.uk/family-support