Mediation is a facilitative strategy that has received much attention. It involves intervention by a neutral third party who guides the process but allows disputants control over the outcome. The mediator as facilitator or communicator serves as a channel of communication among disputing parties focusing on ensuring continued discussion and dialogue (Quinn, Biswas, and Wilkenfeld, 2006). The mediator may provide information concerning relevant legal issues, help disputants engage in perspective taking, guide them toward a realistic settlement, and helps improve the relationship between them, or engage in some combination of these tactics (Jameson, 2001). In this paper the writer will mediate a family conflict that involves two parents and 2 two teenage children. Each parent work full-time and are in executive level positions that require a lot of travel or late hours. As a result the children are left home a lot unattended and tend to fight all the time. Their academics are suffering because of the constant fighting with one another while the parents are not home. The older of the two dictates what should be done. The entire family is now unhappy and there seems to be constant fighting whey they are all together. As mediator I will discuss the process to assist this family. Fisher and Sharp (2004) stated “Many power struggles in the family center around vying for love, affection, notice and attention from one or both parents” (p. 125). Since parents hold the places at the top of the hierarchy and are primarily the caretakers, they are in high demand (Fisher and Sharp, 2004). This demand may have a holistic impact on the family. “The mediation process is a powerful tool for satisfying human needs and reducing suffering for parties” Bush and Folger, 2005 (p. 9). Each family scenario has different needs and the writer will provide information from her course readings and other peer reviewed articles related to mediation for the purpose of this family and provide some guidance. Literature
In mediation, although the neutral third party controls the process, the definition of the conflict and the finding of a solution are still largely in the hands of the parties themselves. The best solution that can be hoped for is a compromise between each party’s initial positions. Mediation involves identifying issues; uncovering underlying interests and concerns; setting an agenda; packaging; sequencing; and prioritizing issues; interpreting and shaping proposals; and making suggestions for possible settlement (Jameson, 2001) . The presence of a mediator can serve several useful purposes: The mediator can encourage and model active listening for the identification of interests; reduce the level of tension between parties; keep the negotiation focused without side-tracking caused by parties’ inexperience with negotiation, high emotions, or their other agendas coming into play. A mediator can also promote early agreements on simple issues to increase momentum, help parties save face when conceding, and advance a proposal which would be rejected if it came from the other party (Dana, 2001). Reviews of research on mediation suggest that when it is effective, participants are usually satisfied and compliance with the agreed solution is usually high. As would be expected, characteristics of the conflict, the parties, and the mediator all influence effectiveness (Carnevale & Pruitt, 1992 as cited by Cross & Rosenthal, 1999). Mediation is more effective when conflict is moderate rather than intense, when the issues don’t involve general principles, and where there is not a severe resource shortage. It is more successful when parties are highly motivated to reach a resolution, are committed to mediation, trust the mediator, and are relatively equal in power. It helps if parties have positive working relationships and a sense of mutual dependence. In terms of mediator characteristics, use...
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