Think of a recent conflict with your ex. Did you struggle to say, or not say, the right thing? Did you become frustrated and feel your heart rate beginning to rise? Perhaps your emotions took over as you tried to convince the other person to see things your way, causing a shouting match. Whether you deal well with it or not, conflict is part of life. While some situations are easily solved, other issues close to your heart become ongoing or recurring conflicts that never result in a solution.
Sticky situations involving custody arrangements or another family issue often call for mediation. In fact, statistics show that 60 to 80 percent of issues can effectively be solved with mediation by involving a neutral third party. With the help of a skilled Florida mediation attorney, you can ensure that both parties are heard fairly and these decisions are made with your, and your children’s, best interests at heart.
It's important to stay calm, collected and rational during mediation. Prepare yourself by keeping in mind four key ways to keep calm when the going gets tough.
Manage Your Emotions
If you know you will inevitably become upset by something your former spouse will say or do, the key is to manage your reactions carefully. Allowing your temper to flare will not solve the problem. Manage your emotions by thinking of potential triggers ahead of time, then determine how you will work through them. It's much like establishing a game plan before the big game and then carrying out the plays as practiced.
- Exercise patience: Know that the issue can be solved with a bit of give and take from each party as long as no one loses their temper or refuses to negotiate.
- Stay objective: Resist the urge to take things personally. Try to solve the problem by outlining the steps to move forward rather than rehashing the past. Personal attacks will only set you back in the problem solving process.
- Breathe: If you find yourself becoming agitated in the moment, stop and take several long, deep breaths to refocus your mind and bring your heart rate down.
Use Flexible Thinking
Opposing views got you into a family conflict in the first place. Sticking rigidly to one potential solution will likely result in more conflict. Instead, try to keep your thinking flexible. Before formal negotiations begin, open your mind to all potential solutions. During mediation, be willing to consider solutions offered by your ex-spouse.
- Consider all proposed solutions with an honest evaluation. If it's not agreeable, state why.
- Prepare alternative solutions to discuss.
- Back-up your proposals with objectivity rather than emotional reasons.
Moderate Your Behavior
If you want mediation to be successful, it's important to moderate your behavior during the meeting. Keep your comments, emotions, tone-of-voice and body language in check. You probably know what buttons to push that will anger your ex, but you must avoid pushing them.
- Listen without interrupting, even when your thoughts are running rampant. Make notes while your ex is talking to ensure you remember important points.
- Show respect. Insulting your ex-spouse, glaring or sighing loudly will result in a tense atmosphere. Be polite, kind and respectful to all parties involved.
- Use "I Statements" instead of placing blame or bringing up others' actions. Begin your statements with "I believe..." or "I need..."
- Take a break if necessary. Avoid getting worked up to the point of walking out. Instead, know when you're nearing your limit and request a recess.
Keeping your behavior, emotions and communication with others in line requires a keen awareness. Check yourself by paying attention to your emotional state throughout the mediation. Ensure that you are using the skills you've learned and practiced.
Practicing various scenarios with role-play is an effective way to really prepare yourself for the mediation. Ask a trusted friend or professional to play your ex while you practice the skills needed to stay calm and focused. The more you practice, the easier it will be to rely on the necessary skills during the real event.
Opposing Party: "I want to pick up the kids three hours early on Sundays so I don't have to miss yoga class every week."
You: "I understand that yoga is important to you, but It's not acceptable for me to give up those three hours. I propose that I bring the kids home after yoga so you can enjoy the class."
Practice several scenarios to ensure you'll be able to handle all potential issues that come up during negotiation. Remind yourself to remain as civil and objective as possible, keeping your emotions out of it to reach the best possible conclusion for everyone involved.
There's no question that mediation is a difficult, emotional process. You wouldn't be in the situation if you could peacefully resolve it without a third party. Use the time with the mediator wisely to get the best results. Prepare yourself for the worst and hope for the best. Try to keep your eye on the prize: A future that is free from the burden of conflict.
Visit our website today if you are seeking family mediation in Florida. Kenny Leigh & Associates can provide you with a consultation to discuss your rights and help you understand the process of mediation.