Published on December 5th, 2013 | by Kelly Rose Bradford0
Kids in the Middle founder Duncan Fisher: separation is traumatic for every child
Duncan Fisher, OBE, social entrepreneur and founder of Kids in the Middle talks to us about the importance of supporting children through their parents’ separation.
Why did you start Kids in the Middle?
Seven years ago I watched my daughter’s best friend go through the separation of her parents. It was terrible for her and the adults around her did not really know what to do. There was nothing simple we could do that didn’t feel like it could enrage one or other parent.
What is Kids in the Middle aiming to do?
Every child in a separating family will hear about Kids in the Middle and get comfort and advice from young people who have been through the experience, and be signposted to other support. They will get three messages: it’s not your fault, you are not alone and it’s OK get get help. Meanwhile parents visiting the site will be shown the child’s perspective (by children) and be called on to opt for low-conflict forms of dispute resolution.
Why is an organisation like Kids in the Middle necessary?
Every year, 100,000 children experience family separation. It is traumatic for every one of them. It is permanently damaging for some. In the last two years, three on-line services for these children closed down.
What are the real issues in separated families where kids are concerned?
There are lots of issues around how to organise parenting apart, but at Kids in the Middle we focus only on the separation itself, and the key issue here is the management of conflict, because it harms children so much.
What worries you most about family break-ups and the effect on children?
Conflict is the number one issue. They hate it and it is very damaging to them.
What do you think parents sometimes lose sight of when they are separating?
It is incredibly difficult for parents to see the child’s perspective; they are often very upset and very afraid of what they might be about to lose. There is trouble when both parents are not in agreement about reducing conflict – if that happens, then the instinct is to fight for everything.
What has been the most satisfying thing you have achieved with Kids in the Middle?
Finding out that young people and family lawyers/mediators are so passionate about such a service existing.
How can our readers get involved?
They can do a fundraising campaign and become Founding Members – please!
If you would like to support Kids in the Middle or find out more about its work, please visit www.kidsinthemiddle.org.uk