I love mediation!
People come into my office scared.
Some are so stressed that their bodies are rigid.
They look tired and ragged.
I get to let them vent.
I want people to have win-win situations.
I never try to set up a mediation where they are winners & there are losers.
I try to set it up so that both parties are set up to win the in future.
I try to do it as fairly as possible.
Sometimes I get to plant some "seeds" about putting the past behind and moving forward.
I encourage people to think creatively.
To be flexible.
To think outside the box.
To develop a sense of humor.
To not allow others to tell them how to parent with their ex.
To throw out the rulebook.
To develop a thick-skin.
To put their kids first.
Love their kids even when they are a huge pain.
Remember when they loved their ex & try to forget the pain their ex caused.
Go into therapy & learn to be a better,stronger person.
Let their kids see a healthy relationship so they develop relationship when they grow up.
Don't let their kids walk all over them.
Set high expectations for their kids.
Don't be a doormat for anyone - learn to set boundaries.
(Lots of advice like that!)
The smart ones listen.
You can see it in their eyes when it "clicks".
They "get" it!
Occasionally, their shoulders soften, they take a deep breath, they actually realize that there is life after their lawsuit is over. They realize that this situation is temporary. They want to put the past behind and begin fresh. They feel "lighter". They have hope for the future.
The smart ones want to quit paying huge legal fees and want their lives to get better. They want a better life for their children. They want to do whatever it will take to accomplish this.
Sometimes even I'm amazed at the "crazy" ideas that I've come up with in the middle of a mediation. The really top-notch attorneys will even get on board & start throwing out ideas! The attorneys that have practiced law for many years (or are divorced themselves) truly want what is best for the family too.
I've had many people give me big hugs and kisses at the end of a long mediation. These are the folks that I have the most hope for. They truly put their kid's interests ahead of anything else. They are creative and willing to think outside of the box. They realize that even though their relationship is ending that they will be co-parenting for the rest of their lives. They just have to figure out how to do it in a new and unchartered way.
I'm proof that it's possible if you have a good sense of humor, be flexible & can think creatively.
My fiance and I just had dinner with my ex's family to celebrate my son-in-law's return from Afghanistan! (Go army!) We had a great time!