Mediation – The Way Forward for adult family disputes


With the holiday season almost upon us, it is time to reflect on the importance of family in our lives. Sorry, but at this time of year is often joyous, it can also be brewing family conflicts bubble to the surface.

I have been particularly moved to hear the stories of families who can not settle their differences and turning to court action, even restraining orders, to settle family disputes.

Dealing with adult family decisions can be difficult and heart-wrenching. With an aging population and the growth in mixed families, addressing the internal problems of the family has become more complex with each generation. More and more family members acting as carers elderly loved ones, a situation that can be a joyful experience and a fraught one.

Family members can access important decisions for themselves and their loved-ones from different perspectives and conflicting views about future decisions may seem difficult if not impossible to reconcile. Making matters worse, the more caught up to be in conflict, the harder it will continue – we get stuck

Every time we try to talk to our brothers and sisters about the declining health of Mum’s, her future alternative care or . whether it should still drive (insert issue here) conversation seems to end in the same heating season, playing over and over like a broken record. It’s getting more and more difficult to have a constructive conversation in this environment and the impasse takes its toll on family relationships.

If you are stuck in family conflict mediation may provide an answer. Mediators seek to explore interests that lie beneath the surface position of the family-members the issues. While on the surface, positions may seem impossibly incompatible, we find that family members usually have many common interests, which can lead to constructive joint problem-solving experience. What’s more, sharing tends to restore broken relationships and provide a roadmap for future communication.

Self-determination is the cornerstone of ethical dissemination activities. While neutral mediator will assist participants to get a clear understanding of the issues and the context otherwise, not mediators offer no advice or make decisions on their behalf. This means that you surrender control of your problems for a third party to decide on your behalf. This is an important benefit of mediation for many families.

The alternative to mediation could resolve the dispute, but is unlikely to deliver its verdict confirming family relationships. Take the family disputes the court is likely to cost you a packet and escalate the rift between you and your family.

As Christmas approaches, I think about a woman I met recently who is caring for the aging of her father on her own and an injunction preventing her share Christmas dinner with her only other living relative. Surely there’s a better way to deal with family conflict than this.

(c) Nicole Kepes. All rights reserved


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