What is Child Inclusive Practice?
Sometimes in Family Dispute Resolution it is appropriate and helpful for the children to engage the services of a qualified Child Consultant.
The Child Consultant interviews the child/children (with parent's consent) to afford the children a voice in a process over which they have, otherwise no input.
Child Inclusive Practice is also useful for parents who may be stuck on a position of what they consider their "rights" to be as a parent, without necessarily being aware of the child's needs. These needs vary according to the age of the child. A Child Consultant can therefore offer independent information so that parents are better able to make decisions based on what is best for their child/children.
Statistics show that:
- 91% of children reported feeling sad when their parents separated
- 68% reported feeling scared
- 52% reported feeling angry
- 33.3% of children reported feeling caught in the middle
- 50% of children saw themselves at the heart of the parent's disputes
(UnitingCare Institute of Family Practice and UnitingCare Unifam Counselling and Mediation 2009)
"About two-thirds of children from separated families will exhibit changes in behaviour at school. Teachers typically notice changes in the academic performance and behaviour of children within days or sometimes even months or years after the separation or divorce of their parents. While some parents may be in a position to minimise the impact of the separation on their children, others are not. Some negative effects may be noticeable even if the separation is amicable or there is a sense of relief for the child following a period of conflict.
If there are unresolved issues and continuing conflict between parents, behaviour changes and affect on school performance may continue and escalate.
Children's responses to separation and divorce
Children's responses to separation and divorce vary according to their age, stage of development and feelings of belonging, security and resilience. Changes that may be evident in children following a divorce or separation include:
- behaviour regression, for example, toileting accidents, thumb sucking, and separation anxiety
- shock, worry, anger, anxiety or depression
- not coping easily with overnight periods away from the primary-care parent, particularly if parental conflict is high
- difficulty in expressing worries verbally, leading to acting-out behaviour, sadness or neediness
- wanting to tell a trusted teacher about the conflict of loyalty felt about parents
- intense anger at the parent who has left
- becoming 'super-responsible' and 'adultified'"
The preceding information is quoted from the Psych4Schools website.
Please follow the link for more information about children's feelings and behaviours following family breakup.
For information on how separation affects children of different ages and how parents can help - please read Children And Separation Booklet published by familyrelationships.gov.au.