Finding Middle Ground

 

By Tina Neyer

In families, conflict is almost a given, whether it be between husband and wife, parent and child, siblings or extended family members. Finding middle ground through mediation and coaching is perhaps the most important gift we give ourselves and those around us in the settlement of any dispute.

Divorce mediation is the most common form of family mediation. It is often ordered by the court as a means of getting two people to talk to one another. The decision to divorce is serious and should be taken as such. Two people enter into a contract of marriage with the hope that they will live in love and peaceful coexistence. As we grow, often we change and our view of the world can change. While many see divorce as a form of failure, I challenge you to think differently about this important growth process.

Fear can be the driving force in our actions toward one another when the decision to divorce is made. There are so many unknowns. Will I be able to stay in my home? Will the children come out of this unscathed? And how do we minimize the impact of our decision on our family? What about the financial impact? What about the holidays? These are all questions asked at the on-set of divorce proceedings.

In today’s world, the practice of mediation gives those involved in the conflict the opportunity to decide for themselves what is the best and highest good they can do in their circumstance. Here are a few observations of importance about the mediation process.

  • Divorce mediators are not always lawyers. If a lawyer is a mediator they are not able to represent clients in court.
  • Mediation is a practice of collaboration. To seek the best agreements for all can have life changing effects on the parties involved.
  • Family meetings are a form of mediation that parents and step parents can use to great success when putting their family together. The philosophy of the family meeting is to allow everyone to be heard. Parents conduct the meetings and ask the children for their input on solving whatever the issue may be. For example, conflict arises when it’s time to do the dishes. When a family meeting is called, everyone can offer their solution. The key is to ensure that all ideas are heard and welcomed. Through discussion, an agreement as to how the chore is meted out often becomes a long-lasting behavior change. 

Marriage is entered into often as a forever circumstance. However, 51% of the population in the U.S. has experienced divorce. It is a life event that has the power to change people for good or bad. The more mindful we are about the process of divorce, dissolution, or separation the more opportunity there is for collaborative agreements.

I am new to the Conscious Living Center, but not to the process of mediation, having been trained in the practice 15 years ago. The underlying theory of mediation as a way to solve family issues aligns with the Center’s mission of personal growth and spirituality. The mediation process is enhanced with the practice of the Enneagram. When we know ourselves and those around better, we have the opportunity to work through our conflicts in a more sustainable way. 

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