5 Things a Child Custody Mediator Wishes Parents Knew

Available for Interviews: Carol Barkes

Carol Barkes is a conflict resolution expert, mediator, national speaker, educator, and bestselling author who uniquely applies neuroscience to the fields of conflict resolution and negotiations. Her expert perspective is always fresh and relevant.

What Carol Barkes can say in an interview on
the Benefits of Mediation

 1. Leave your people at home (this includes friends, your mom or dad, new girlfriend, boyfriend, wife or husband). Of course, these people are on your side but they are often blinded by their bias for you. They are not living your stress or paying your bills so their recommendations are often short-sighted and can leave parents dealing with ramifications they had not intended. They also tend to fire up the other side. Mediators do not need character references. Save that for court if all else fails.

 2. All fathers are not narcissists and all mothers are not emotional, bi-polar wrecks. Avoid the labels. Less than 20% of the human population has a mental health diagnosis and leave those diagnoses to the professionals. Even if your ex is diagnosed with something, leave the character assassination for another day. Instead, talk about the issues that concern you and focus on the remedies rather than the attack.

 3. 50/50 custody is a parent issue, not a child issue. So many times, parents come in demanding 50/50 custody schedules but these are not always practical for the kids. In a study that was published in 2020, children were found to not be day counters. Instead, they focused on the fact they regularly see each parent. Aim for quality time over numbers. In this same research in over 37000 cases, only 10-15% of the cases had 50/50 custody. Speak to your mediator about what might be better options for your children.

 4. Parenting plans should be about what is best for the children. That is not the same as what is best for the parents. Life changes when parents choose to not raise their children in the same household. Concessions must be made. Special moments will be missed. This is the tragedy and reality of parallel parenting. The more you can work collaboratively with the other parent, the better off your children will be. It isn’t broken relationships that hurt the children, it is the ongoing conflict.

 5. Know that the kids will tell you both what they think you want to hear. They will tell one parent they don’t want to go to the other parent’s house only to arrive at that other parent’s house and have a fabulous time. They will then tell that parent they don’t want to leave only to arrive back at the first parent’s house saying the time with the other parent was awful. Instead, stop putting the kids in the position to need to do so. Don’t drill them about what is going on in the other parent’s house and have a positive attitude about them going to spend time with the other parent.


Interview: Carol Barkes.

Carol Barkes, CPM, is a trend-setting mediator, business executive, and educator specializing in the use of neuroscience to improve business performance, interpersonal communications, negotiation and conflict resolution processes for optimally successful results. She is also a speaker, educator, and author of the bestselling book: Success Breakthroughs: Leading Entrepreneurs and Professionals Reveal Their Secrets for Breaking Through to Success.

Jo Allison
Managing Editor
Success in Media, Inc.

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