Mediator Laura's Blog

Setting the Foundation:    

Crafting a Vision for Co-Parenting Success

Embarking on the journey of co-parenting involves more than just negotiating logistics; it's about creating a shared vision for your children. Before delving into the specifics of a parenting plan, take a step back to envision the future:

Defining Their Identity:

Who are your children as individuals? What makes them unique?

Hopes and Dreams:

What are your collective hopes and dreams for your children's future?

Daily Routines and Activities:

Outline their daily schedule and consider the significance of extracurricular activities.

Values and Beliefs:

Reflect on your individual values and how they shape your parenting approach.

Seeking Guidance:

When faced with uncertainty, where do you turn for ideas and answers?

Holiday Traditions:

What holds significance for you regarding holidays? How can these be woven into your co-parenting plan?

Family Trips:

Identify the family trips that hold importance and contribute to shared memories.

Once you've done the groundwork to craft this new vision, it becomes your guiding light in the co-parenting journey helping you to navigate uncertainty and provide guidance during times of conflict. 

Digital Co-Parenting: 

Apps for Seamless Communication & Organization

Navigating co-parenting after a breakup can be a challenging journey, especially when communication becomes strained. If face-to-face or phone conversations with your co-parent flow smoothly, then you might not feel the need to explore alternative methods. However, if your interactions are primarily through text and tensions are running high, investing in co-parenting apps might be a game-changer during the transitional phase of moving from partners to co-parents.

These apps serve as a centralized hub for managing crucial aspects of your child's life and your co-parenting relationship. Here's why they're worth considering:

By leveraging co-parenting apps, you can minimize misunderstandings, keep track of vital details, and foster a smoother transition from former partners to effective co-parents. These tools offer a practical solution to the complexities of co-parenting in the digital age, ensuring that important information is readily available and communication remains transparent.

Digital Co-Parenting:

   Why I Advocate for        Electronic Calendars

In the realm of co-parenting, having separate calendars with mutual invitations can bring down conflict and create smoother communication. When each co-parent has their own calendar and invites the other to accept appointments, it not only streamlines scheduling but also creates a clear record of shared responsibilities.

Addressing common resentments in co-parenting, such as feeling burdened with all the scheduling responsibilities or frustration about missed communication, an electronic calendar proves to be a practical solution. Here's how:

By leveraging shared electronic calendars, co-parents can overcome common challenges, fostering a more cooperative and efficient co-parenting experience. It's a simple yet powerful tool that not only eases scheduling woes but also promotes transparency and accountability in shared parenting responsibilities.

Post Mediation:

   Keeping a Journal

Consider having a dedicated notebook for the mediation process. This invaluable tool allows you to organize your thoughts beforehand, take notes during sessions, and reflect on the overall process.

If you find yourself struggling to resist jumping into the conversation or being so focused on your viewpoint that you miss others' perspectives, taking notes can be a game-changer. By jotting down key points, you slow down your thought process and actively engage with what others are saying. This helps ensure that you not only grasp their perspective but also respond thoughtfully, fostering a more productive and collaborative conversation.

Reflecting on Mediation: A Post-Session Guide for Self-Discovery

Congratulations, you've navigated through a mediation session – a commendable step toward resolution. Now, it's time to take a moment to reflect on the experience. Grab your notes and let's delve into some self-discovery exercises that can help you grow from the mediation process.

Review the moments during the mediation when you felt upset. Take note of what the other person was saying, and ask yourself whether it was the words or the tone that triggered your emotional response. Delve deeper by exploring where in your body you felt these emotions – was it in your lungs, stomach, head, or shoulders?

As you peruse your notes, pay attention to any signs of stress in your body. What does it feel like, and how can you soften it? Take a moment to place a tender and loving hand on the area, telling yourself, "I am sorry that this is so hard for you." Consider asking yourself, "What do you need, how can I help?" Notice if this gentle approach allows your body to relax and let go.

Think about what you can share with the mediator or the other party regarding what would help you stay more present in future mediations. Effective communication is key to a successful resolution process, and expressing your needs ensures a more supportive and constructive environment.

Consider sharing insights such as:

If you find these reflection exercises helpful, you might want to explore the practice of Mindful Self-Compassion. You can look at offerings at the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion https://centerformsc.org/.  This approach involves acknowledging your suffering, offering compassion to yourself, and recognizing that others may share similar emotions and experiences. It's a powerful tool for cultivating resilience and a deeper understanding of your own emotions.


Topics to Discuss:

   Safe Gun Storage

Recently, I attended an insightful talk led by family law experts, highlighting the importance of incorporating responsible gun ownership into parenting plans, especially within families where firearms are an integral part of the culture. 

Amidst a concerning rise in suicides among young people aged 10-14, it is an unfortunate fact that gun-related attempts are fatal 90% of the time. Additionally, it has been found that annually, 350 children are unintentionally shot by peers. It has become clear that it is crucial to prioritize safety measures.

The family law experts emphasized the need to address safe gun storage not just within the parents' homes but extending the conversation to any place where a child might spend significant time. This includes the residences of grandparents, aunts, uncles, or even close family friends. The key takeaway is that if gun ownership is significant to your family's culture, implementing a proactive plan for safe storage is essential.

If guns play a crucial role in your family's life, let me know, and let's set up a plan.

Visit Be SMART for Kids and EveryTown to learn more. 

Bill Eddy – The Conflict Institute

Bill Eddy founded The High Conflict Institute and has written many books on handling high conflict people. His website defines a high conflict individual as “someone who habitually initiates and escalates conflict with others.”

Bill Eddy developed the BIFF method and teaches how to write them in his book BIFF: Quick Responses to High-Conflict People, Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Email and Social Media Meltdowns.

He writes that BIFFs should be:

BRIEF: “You don’t want to give too many words for the other person to react to.”

INFORMATIVE: “Don’t include your opinion or defensiveness about the subject. Just provide straight information presented in neutral terms, as briefly as possible.”

FRIENDLY: “Said in an inviting and open, non-accusatory way”

FIRM: “The goal of many BIFF responses is to end the conversation – to disengage from a potentially high-conflict situation. You want to let the other person know that this is all you are going to say on the subject.”


Digital Communication:

   The BIFF Technique

Texting, Social Media Posts and Emails are great ways to keep in touch, but they often lead to conflict when your relationship is suffering. If the other party regularly engages is in "Blamespeak" inflaming the conversation, involving others in publicly shaming you, angrily going off-topic, consider learning how to write BIFF responses.   

BIFF stands for Brief, Informative, Friendly, and Firm, offering a constructive way to communicate your perspective. Keep it concise, with 4-6 sentences conveying the essential facts in an inviting and non-accusatory manner.

For example:

"I appreciate your viewpoint on [issue]. It's important for us to find common ground. I hope we can work towards a resolution together. I need to hear back from you by [date]. If I don't receive a response by then, I will need to [take action]. Thank you for your understanding."

By employing the BIFF technique, you set a positive tone, emphasize key information, and establish clear expectations for moving forward. This approach fosters open communication and increases the likelihood of a successful mediation process.