The teenage years can be difficult for families. Teens are going through a challenging transition period, and parents are adjusting to new behavior from their child who is becoming a young adult. An inability to talk is often the issue. When problems surface, mediation can be the solution.
Mediation is not therapy. Mediation is a means of opening up communication. Perhaps it is a parent’s concern about their child’s conduct or activities that affects their schoolwork and creates family tensions. The conduct may be typical acting-out by a teen but it disrupts family time and has created an impasse in communication. That’s where mediation comes in. Parents and teens get to discuss their concerns with a neutral person facilitating the conversation and insuring it does not become confrontational. Mediation emphasizes the skill of effective listening, recognizing emotions while focusing on the underlying issues and concerns. The session(s) end with a written plan that requires both the teen and the parents to work on a particular problem that they have identified during the session.
Mediation can be particularly effective with families. Teens like the idea that nobody is labeling them as ‘bad’ or ‘sick’, and that the process acknowledges that both parties — the parents as well as the teen — need to work on improving the problem. Their actions or attitude might be a problem but that does not mean there is something wrong with them. Parents respond well to mediation because the frustration of an unproductive, circular, dynamic that devolves into a screaming match has taken its toll on everyone. Learning how to talk again is a step towards restoring their relationship with their child and creating a healthier environment in their home.
Talking Alternatives (www.talkingalternatives.net) helps parents and teens and adult families to preserve relationships. Working on communication skills early can save families a lot of trouble in later years. Contact us for further information at 646-682-9319.