There are many personal and environmental factors that can apply pressure to a family dynamic, and the result of these stressors can cause an uncomfortable situation for every member of the family living under the same roof or currently separated. Mediation can be a productive method to fairly approach these issues, but it can be hard to know when you should escalate to this format, or if you have in fact passed this point. Today we are going to discuss when family mediation is the right choice and the signs to look out for, as well as the many elements to consider in achieving an ideal solution and plan forward.
When communication is no longer constructive
If the communication with your partner or a family member has deteriorated to the point where constructive communication is no longer possible - this is how you know family mediation is the right choice and next step. When there are so many complex emotions tangled in each conversation and decision, you won’t have the communication toolkit to approach these issues and harmful communication can become the norm and be hard to break out of. Family mediation facilitates healthy, constructive conversation.
When children are part of the equation
If you have children in the middle of your family disputes, then family mediation is going to expedite a resolution and reduce the psychological harm that might come with unrest in the family. Children are incredibly sensitive to uncertainty, not to mention the possible trauma of seeing their caregivers in yelling matches. It’s critical that you move this interaction into a safer space where your children are not privy to the personal details of the conflict, and when the time comes you can decide what the next steps look like for your children and their living arrangements. These decisions can be decided fairly with a mediator and can reduce any conflict experienced by the children.
Remember to find a mediation facilitator, together
Finding a family mediator is a task that should be done together, as you want this journey to start on an equal footing with no party in a position of power. Every family mediator aims for a resolution but each provider brings something different to the table, so have a frank conversation with your partner about what you are looking for in a mediator. You also have to make sure that both parties are happy with the mediator and mediating process after the first meeting, as engagement in the process is necessary for finding closure and resolution. After all, prolonging the process will get you further and further away from a peaceful outcome.
To initiate the next steps
Beyond the benefits in the present, family mediation also paces the way for the future and gets the ball rolling on the next steps. This might be to resolve issues and reunite under a commitment to work harder on the relationship, or it might be to facilitate divorce proceedings. Either outcome requires a commitment from both parties, and when you have identified which path to take, then a family mediator is the right next step to guide you through. These next steps can be emotionally draining, and only an unbiased third party can guide both parties to this resolution with as little animosity as possible.
Family mediation is a sensitive issue to broach, and knowing when it’s the right time can be complex when there is more than one party involved. Guide through this process gently, so that you retain your confidence and peace of mind, and also treat your family members with respect and kindness. These uncertain times can feel like they last a lifetime, so be sure to choose a family mediator that you trust and want to work with.