5O Relationship breakdown and re-partnering
The Developmental Feedback model – giving children under 5 a clearer voice in FDR
The Developmental Feedback was born out of the need to address the impact of separation on children under five years. As part of the FDR process, children over the age of five years may be asked to participate in Child Inclusive Practice (CIP). At this older age, children are able to be interviewed by a Child Consultant through play, conversation, stories and other therapy tools; and parents are provided with feedback to assist their decision making, and have clearer insight into how their child is coping.
Historically, children under five years of age are often viewed as unsuitable to be included in CIP and as a result, they are often seen as part of the family system when constructing child feedback to parents, rather than assessing their needs individually.
We argue that approaches like Developmental Feedback will ensure young children are included into the decision-making process by bringing their needs to the forefront as paramount and equally as important as older children. The model takes into account the development and attachment needs of each child at specific points in time, and weaves this information into an ongoing FDR process.
The model can be outlined in four steps:
- Parent interviews: to gain insight into the child’s development and growth up to that point.
- Developmental Feedback session: Child Consultant delivers feedback based on the parent interviews, observations of the child and theory.
- Review and monitoring session: check in with parents to review child’s response to parenting plans, ongoing needs and further psycho-education.
- Reflection and future planning session: final check in and assessment of parental insight and capacity to make child-focused decisions.
We will outline and explore each of these steps in detail and reflect on several cases where Developmental Feedback has been implemented in our FDR practice.
As we know from research, separation is a type of trauma on children, as it disrupts their development and attachments in some way. We also know that there can be prevention and repair when parents are able buffer the impact of separation on their children.
This presentation will outline common impacts on children, deciphering between normal development issues and those incurred by separation and conflict. It will then outline how we consider how Developmental Feedback assists and supports parents to actively notice points of concern and work together to make decisions around parenting plans and communication to address these concerns.
Libby is a Therapist with Uniting, The Anchor working therapeutically with children and their parents and advocating for their developmental needs.
Tara is the FDR Specialist at Uniting with 13 years experience as a legally trained FDR Practitioner with a focus on complex post separation families and collaborative approaches.