Throughout my years of training and practicing as a mediator, I have realised that there is common ground in addressing adults on dispute resolution skills and addressing parents on methods of constructive discipline skills. Today the focus of my presentation is going to be on respectfully and consciously disciplining a child using basic dispute resolution skills that moves away from the age-old adage “spare the rod, spoil the child”. The aim of my presentation is to highlight the need for a parenting style that positively impacts the emotional state of the child at a time when both parent and child are experiencing high states of angst and despair, via using the communication skills of a trained mediator. The purpose is to produce a generation of parents who respect the voice of the child, and not silence it, with the prospect of enhancing ongoing constructive relationships between parent and child.
As someone who trains professional adults in higher education institutes in the alternate dispute resolution skills of mediation and negotiation, I am often asked why do I focus on preferring divorce and family mediation and negotiation between parents at the outset over the litigious battle in resolving parenting disputes. My answer: one of the core features of mediation in parenting disputes is to preserve the ongoing relationship that these parents will have as they watch their children mature and develop over the years. Mediation moves disputing parents away from the high emotions that causes upheaval and tension between them when making decisions to a place of mutual respect and consideration. I have never negated the use of litigation or advocated that mediation is an alternate to litigation, instead I believe that mediation should be an ancillary legal process to the conventional choice of litigation to minimise time and costs spent in attempts to reaching solutions.
Mediation is key in enhancing the communication skills of the parents to actively listen, ask open-ended questions and engage in problem-solving so that in the event that unforeseeable difficulties arise along their path of raising their children, they are able to communicate directly with each other in an effective, reasonable and realistic way forward that does not perpetuate a destructive relationship. Attending mediation sessions with a competent mediator will influence parents to respond with perspective and understanding before reacting to any dispute that arises between them.
Download the full speech by clicking on the download article button.