As 2019 begins, I took some time to look back over the topics I visited in blogs during 2018. I started 2018 by writing a piece on maintaining respect during conflict resolution. Conflict resolution was a recurring theme in not only my practice, but in much of the front page news. I even looked into whether a talking stick may actually aid during an impasse in negotiations. There were many high-profile conflicts in the news throughout the year, about everyone from celebrities to politicians. It felt important for me to keep in mind the importance of respect and cooperation in disputes, and as a new year starts fresh, I wanted to highlight some of my own thoughts for the beginning of 2019:
Dispute resolution is not a one-size-fits-all approach: Conflicts may take on many forms, and the resolutions do as well. Some issues may take more time and attention than others, and it is important to maintain flexibility during the discussions to ensure that both parties are adequately heard. It is also crucial to start any negotiation with the information needed to make decisions. Facts and figures provide a strong and logical foundation for the decision-making that needs to be done.
Respect goes a long way! Discussions may become tense. When each party takes the time to listen and respect the other party, the options developed are usually better suited to reaching a resolution that suits the needs of the whole family.
Child Inclusive Mediation: This year I wrote often about how to bring the needs of children into the room. It is possible to create an environment to support parents in actively considering the unique needs of the children. This helps to preserve the parent child relationship and support the children’s psychological adjustment to the separation. Keeping the children as the main focus will allow for a healthier parenting arrangement: Each parent undoubtedly wants to spend as much time with his/her children as possible. Creating an agreement to share time can be very emotional and stressful. When parents focus on how to best care for the children while maintaining both parents’ relationship with the children, the final result will prove more beneficial for the children.
As always, I look forward to a new year to help others resolve their conflicts in a respectful way. Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!