So the Government is considering making fighting parents mediate before they can litigate. Not everyone agrees this is a good idea according to the Law Society Gazette.
There is an argument that the state should not waste it’s resources allowing parents to battle over the arrangements for their children.
When parents separate 40% of fathers cease having contact with their child within 12 months. Often the reason cited is the mother’s behaviour towards the father. There are many cases where it is apparent that the mother is indeed seeking to undermine the child’s relationship with the father.
There are also many cases where the father seeks to continue bullying the mother post separation and uses the child as a means of doing so. In both these scenarios the unreasonable parent does not care what harm they cause their child and indeed would refuse to acknowledge it. There are none so blind as those who do not wish to see.
How can mediation help these unreasonable, selfish people come to understand that what they are doing is harmful to their child and they should stop? The Court has started ordering parents to go on Parenting Classes. The feedback has been positive but how to keep up the momentum? Plus, why tar all parents with the same brush? Some are dragged into Court by the other party who is behaving unfairly. Some are forced to use the Courts to make the other be reasonable.
In a recent Court case the father had told the child that the mother was unfair and had texted the mother to say that the child would grow up to hate her. The mother asked the Court to ensure that the child was not told about the proceedings and the father’s legal advisor stated that the child should be given age appropriate information. No the child should not! It is never appropriate to tell your child anything bad about the other parent, unless the child is in danger.
I think the Courts should make it standard that parents do not discuss each other negatively or the proceedings with their children and if they do serious sanctions will follow.
Telling your child that daddy does not love him because he has gone on holiday with his girlfriend is cruel to your child. Telling your child that mummy is unfair because she will not drive 2 hours to drop her off is unfair to your child. Yes you may manage to get your child to side with you and dislike their other parent but why would you want to do that to your own child? Getting people to appreciate their responsibilities as parents is the crucial step. Most everyone claims to love their own children. Unfortunately not everyone behaves as if they do.