“I should buy the Mediator Christmas presents every year”
Robert went through years of conflict in order to be able to see his children after a bitter divorce, and despite having to go to court on more than one occasion, mediation was what finally helped end those years of stress and misery.
Robert, his wife and the children all suffered physical and mental repercussions due to the stress, but Robert’s experience proves that even if one party insists on using the courts, if you can remain calm and focused, a healthy end result can be achieved, since it’s never too late to tap into using mediation.
In this podcast, Robert shares some of his story:
Robert is currently training to become a Mediator himself, and he supports other fathers via the national charity Families Need Fathers. Through his own experiences, and those of others he has supported via the Families Need Fathers helpline, Robert has noticed how little support there is from Government for parents.
“Essentially, it’s much better for all the family if parents work together for their children’s benefit rather than to work against each other in the courts. The best way to support children is for their parents to be supportive of each other. The problem is that immediately after separation it’s more likely separating parents will be feeling very sore and wanting to score ‘hits’ over the other rather than being in the mood for cooperation!
Loss of communication, and therefore trust (or vice versa), is often the reason relationships fail. For effective collaboration post family breakdown it is essential to rebuild that communication and trust. Mediators are there to facilitate that process and play an essential part in helping children of broken families escape relatively unscathed by their parent’s misfortunes. There does have to be a will for success on both sides for mediation to be effective though, and this can be very hard to achieve.
A great proportion of parents in broken families come from broken families themselves, and so it goes on through generation to generation. One parent I spoke to said he’d been stopped seeing his children after he’d stuffed a bar of soap in his son’s mouth when he was being naughty – just as his parents did to him as a child. All he wanted to do now was to learn to be a good parent, but parenting courses offered were so expensive there was no chance he could afford them. Lots of government education advertising on what we should eat and drink, smoking etc, but not a lot on the importance of good parenting. Children learn parenting skills from their parents, so if their parents are lacking, generally speaking, their children will be as well.”