Parenting and Mediation

I became a parent late in life and was as such fortunate that I could approach it with a bit more of a intellectual background than when parenting happens to you at a young age.Lately I have come to see that there is a lot of similarities between parenting and mediation and for that matter probably any vocation that you find yourself in. In my case,mediation. I have found some of the following to be important.
1. Creating a safe space for exploration. As parents and mediators sometimes we would like to make decisions for the other person/child because the solution to problems seem obvious. By letting them explore the conflict,challenges they face they learn that there are options and alternatives available. By you deciding that for them one removes the opportunity for growth and learning.
2. Let them talk. Woman more than men seem to process options and alternatives by talking, men seem to think, decide and then inform you what they have decided. In that dichotomy lies the secret with kids as well. The social filters they have are not yet as developed as yours, therefore, by letting them speak they develop the skill of reflection when discussing it with you.
3. Deciding vs inventing. People in a conflict situation’s point of view tend to narrow down to the problem at hand. As parents we do the same. We see the behavior and that then becomes an issue. Sometimes, behavior is just exploring of different things to what they are use to. In time, after exploring, decisions need to be made, the skill lies in knowing when to decide and when to allow them the space to explore.
4. Guiding vs Telling. One of the biggest mistakes I made when I started doing family mediation was to want to decide for people what is good and best for them. I had to learn quite quickly that each person at his gut level knows what they want and what is good for them, listening to that voice might be an a place for growth. Children wants us to keep them safe and guide them. By continuously telling them what to do and when to do it their thinking becomes lazy, they know you will decide for them, keep them in the loop when deciding , give them options and discuss it with them.
5. Know when to take control. To create a safe space and and develop them the biggest skill as a mediator I have found was knowing when to take control of the space in which we work. as a parent you are the ultimate decision maker. Develop that skill to make good adults of your children, not dependents of your thinking .
You might take this opportunity to see what skills it is that you have that make you good at what you do. Then take those skills and see how that might enhance your parenting skills. Be safe

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