Meet my new friend and guest blogger for this month Holly Birdwell. As a Mediator, Holly offers great advice on helping parents to co-parent…
Three Advantages of Mediation for Co-Parenting
Maintaining healthy relationships after divorce or separation can be challenging for parents and if not done thoughtfully and free of conflict it can cause more harm for the children than the divorce or separation itself. Mediation can help parents transition to a cooperative child-centered co-parenting relationship.
One: Neutral and confidential environment
Mediation provides a neutral and confidential environment for parents to build a positive co-parenting relationship. A mediator will guide the discussion about co-parenting issues, but does not make decisions or take sides. This allows both parents to discuss their positions and interests for their children and find a middle-ground that works for both parties.
Two: Helps co-parents create effective and positive co-parenting plans
Mediation allows co-parents to remain in control and make decisions about custody, scheduling and planning. Maintaining control over these important issues allows co-parents to create plans that fit the needs of all parties involved. When parents maintain control over these important issues it reduces stress for the parties involved and increases the likelihood that both parents will remain focused on the best interest of the children instead of their own personal interests. Mediation also increases the likelihood that both parents will be satisfied with the outcome because they have both contributed equally to developing a parenting plan that is best for their children and accommodates both families’ unique needs. Co-parenting relationships tend to be more successful when both parents make decisions regarding the important issues about their children instead of leaving such matters for a court to decide.
Three: Decreases conflict and increases children’s sense of security
Mediation helps parents learn effective conflict resolution skills to handle parenting issues that may arise. When parents are working together and modeling positive, effective conflict resolution it increases the children’s sense of security, thereby reducing their stress. The divorce process can be a stressful time for children as they tend to blame themselves, it’s important for the parents to work hard to manage conflict in a positive and effective manner, and prevent children from being exposed to conflict. When parents model positive conflict resolution skills it teaches children to be able to handle conflict in a positive manner as well.
How Does Mediation Work?
Co-parenting mediation is focused on helping parents create a child-centered parenting plan that meets the individual needs of each family and promotes a positive, emotionally safe environment in both homes for the children. The mediator guides the parents to focus on the best interest of the children, the mediator also aims to create a healthy co-parenting relationship between the parents, one in which they will learn to manage conflict effectively, find solutions to co-parenting issues and protect the children from exposure to conflict.
Contact Holly Birdwell, CPM at Eagle River Mediation - www.EagleRiverMediation.com
I remember the first time I had to complete a survey that gave the option of the following boxes:
□ Single □ Married □ Divorced
Even though I completed forms like this a million times on paper and online, the first time I had to following divorce I felt devasted. I even tried to leave it blank, but a response was required. Somehow, I didn’t even want complete strangers to know that I was in the divorced category. If you think checking a box was difficult, try saying "I’m divorced" aloud for the first days, weeks and sometimes years.
Why is it embarrassing to admit being divorced? Is there the fear of others being judgmental? Is there the fear of our testimony being ruined? I told a friend I was writing a book entitled: Divorced and Still Highly Favored and tears began to form in her eyes. I was concerned about her response and asked her if I had said something wrong. She shared with me that she still feels stigmatized by having to admit she failed at marriage not only once, but twice. Even though her last divorce was more than five years ago, the pain and embarrassment was still there.
I too remember feeling like I had let the whole world down. I didn't like having to admit I was divorced. In speaking with my current husband, he indicated it was over five years after his divorce before he felt comfortable saying the word “divorce.”
The Bible offers a remedy for our emotional shame when admitting being divorced. Read John 4: 1-42 where Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at the well. This woman needed water for her household but deliberately came to the well at midday as to avoid others. Jesus knew she had been married five times and took the time to minister to her to let her know she was worthy of salvation. After her conversation with Jesus, she was no longer ashamed and ran through out the community to tell others Jesus told her everything about her past. In fact, she set the record for being the catalyst for a whole town getting saved.
After encountering Jesus, she wasn't worried about the gossip and what other's thought of her. This story did wonders for me. I hope it will encourage you as well. Just because you are divorced, it does not mean that God no longer loves you or that He is mad at you. In fact He wants to go out of his way as he did for the woman at the well to redeem you.
Now, I can not only admit that I am divorced, but tell the world "I am Divorced and Still Highly Favored."
Janice R Love, Author
First Lady, Mom, Stepmom and Divorce Ministry Coach