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Approaching Child Custody Mediation I

Hints and Tips – Why Prepping the Kids Hurts, not Helps

The first thing for you to keep in mind is that custody and visitation mediators are interested in what’s good for the kids.  They don’t put your rights high on the priority list.  Next, you have to understand that kids look at the grownups in their lives as all-powerful beings, so they pay a lot of attention to understanding how to affect them.  That is, kids are real good at reading parents, and saying things they want to hear.

For those reasons, mediators see statements about what the kids say they want as red flags.  Much too often, parents in a custody dispute pressure the kids to take sides, sometimes without even knowing they are doing it, and kids don’t need that pressure.  It’s much better to describe what the kids do and how they act – done right, that will convey the same message, but in a much different light.  For example, saying, “Little Johnny always says he wants to be with me” sounds suspiciously like he’s trying to please you.  However, saying, “Little Johnny’s face lights up and he gets all excited when he knows it’s my weekend coming up,” gives the mediator a picture of a kid getting happier when he’s with you.

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