How We Communicate Through Mediation: A Case Study
Len, 32, found it difficult to have any kind of constructive conversation with his ex and it always dissolved into a fight. Then they both decided to give mediation a go with great results.
“We had always had a tempestuous relationship so when we split up it definitely didn’t become any easier. We were at each other all the time, and anytime we spoke we would bring up old arguments and constantly veer off the subject that we were supposed to be talking about. It really was getting us nowhere and I know that it wasn’t good for my son.
“Eventually her Mum suggested that we go to see a mediator. I was totally unconvinced and didn’t want to talk about our problems in front of a stranger, but knew that we needed some help so I agreed to go along. Far from being pushy and judgemental, the lady we got was very calm and placid and didn’t try to tell either of us that we were wrong or stupid.”
Trying Mediation“She sat us down and got us to both talk about how we were feeling about the situation and what we wanted to happen. She was quite strict, in a calm way, and made us both listen to each other. That was really good because usually we would just talk over each other trying to get our point across.”
Len says that going to mediation was a real eye opener and he was surprised at how quickly they saw results. After his initial trepidation, he worked hard to make the most of it.
“Even after the first session I felt much more positive about talking to my ex and I could see that she felt the same. It was so nice to realise that we could get on if we just did it in the right way. We went back four more times and it worked really well because we were both committed to it and knew that we needed it.”
Using Mediation at Home“The big challenge was learning to use everything that we were taught when we didn’t have the mediator around. We were told to stay calm, stick to the subject, listen to the other person and consider how we could compromise. It was much easier said than done!
“We slipped up a few times and I was disappointed in myself more than anything. I let my mouth run away from me and I regretted it afterwards. We have both worked at it though and now we have a got a good relationship. I think we both respect each other’s opinions more and are willing to give in a little more.
“I don’t know where we’d be without the mediation – probably going round in circles like headless chickens. It’s not easy being a parent, especially not a separated one and sometimes you need someone to teach you how to do it better. It was the best thing we could have done for us and our son and I hope that we can keep it up.”Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.