• Improving Outcomes for Children and Enhancing Inter-parental Relationships


    The government is commited to supporting family life and improving life chances of children and as such a report has been commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions.  Part of this initiative is to look at how to improve outcomes for children following separation and what could enhance the co-parenting relationship. A review has been carried out by the Early Intervention Foundation and has been reported recently.  This report can be found at: http://www.eif.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/What-Works-To-Enhance-Inter-Parental-Relationships-and-Improve-Outcomes-for-Children.pdf

    In brief, this report covers the importance of parental relationships and the effect that this has on children following separation. One of the key findings, and one which we often make parents aware of, is that the way in which parents relate to one another and communicate is a 'primary influence' on the way in which they parent.

    The way in which one parents has an impact on a child's mental health and future life chances. Parents who engage in freqent conflicts and who poorly communicate will put these at risk for their children. This can affect all children from infancy through to adulthood.

    The wider family also has an affect on outcomes for children. This can exacerbate any inter-parent conflict, but equally can also moderate the impact of parental conflict if the child experiences support and lack of conflict from members of the wider family.

    Inter-parental conflict will affect not only the outcomes for the child themselves, but there is also the possiblity of an adverse affect on the parent-child relationship.  It is therefore vital that the parental relationship is without conflict so as not to have an impact on any member of the family.

    During the mediation process we are often discussing the practical arrangements for the child.  However, also here at Laceys our mediators recognise the importance of addressing the parental relationship.  In parental relationships where there is conflict and poor communication, we often see practical arrangements breaking down, which ultimately has an adverse effect on the child.  Our mediators are trained in Direct Child Consultation (where the mediator sees the child separately to given them a voice), and very often children will say to us that 'all they want if for mum and dad to be friends'.  We appreciate that not in all cases can this happen, but we will certainly try our utmost to help find a pragmatic solution which will result in parents working together for the benefit of their children,