Disputes – The Trump Approach? Or a Win/Win Mediation option…
Awareness of mediation is increasing and the word is becoming more widely understood. Often confused with the ‘meditation’ word, it has now become much more familiar because the law has specified that divorcing couples should seek mediation before resorting to Family Courts.
Many people do not realize that mediation is not only used in divorce cases – it is also used in other very different types of disputes and arguments where communication has broken down. Mediation is often used in neighbour disputes, family disputes (parents and teenagers experiencing relationship problems) and mediation is also highly effective when working with young people who are either homeless or at risk of being made homeless.
One of the things that we know for sure is that when disputes escalate it is likely that not only the people at the centre of the dispute/row that will suffer but also other family members, friends and neighbours. The effects on the parties involved can be devastating, causing anxiety, depression and even homelessness. Some disagreements escalate and communication breaks down completely, which is when the use of skilled mediators can help…
The Trump Approach
Back to President Trump and his approach to resolving disputes. He tends to use the ‘who can shout loudest’ or use threats as an approach to win disputes and disagreements. This type of approach may get a result but is unlikely to last, as the other party is still aggrieved and will seek to undermine any agreement or over-turn it in time.
The Mediation Approach
Mediators work differently. They focus on ensuring that everyone involved is heard and the outcomes are positive for all involved. Importantly mediators are always impartial, they want to help people have a chance to air their differences in a ‘safe’ situation, help everyone understand how each other feels, how the dispute has affected them and what the options are for resolving the dispute. In many cases people are very surprised by how their protagonists’ feel (surprised that their own anxieties and feelings are reflected) and this brings a desire to resolve the dispute to bring about compromises that all can accept. This is the win-win situation that largely brings long-term peace and greater harmony.
Apart from the obvious benefits outlined above, people learn other new skills from mediation – take a deep breath and think how the other person might feel, what is the outcome I want, what can I do differently to diffuse a dispute, what compromises am I prepared to make. Reflection before discussion really helps…
This is also the approach that we use with young people when they are going through teenage anger. We work with them to help them deal with their anger and learn better ways of dealing with confrontation. Anger is a habit – habits can be changed.
Recognise the problems?
Maybe some of the people reading this article have problems themselves or know of others who might benefit from mediation. We are here to help. West Kent Mediation is the only mediation service in the area and it is also free. Get in touch with Amanda or Gill or visit our website.