When teenagers indulge in rebellious behaviour, they usually do so without sparing a thought for consequences. Absenteeism from school, dropping out of school, going on holiday without supervision and unacceptable conduct in public are some of the more common acts of rebellion by teenagers.
Often, such behaviour will not sit well with parents or carers, causing arguments between them and the teen. With families nowadays often reliant on others such as grandparents, Out of Hours School Care, Vacation care and nannies to care for children while they work, arguments and problems arising between children and carers can be even harder for parents to manage. Such issues can then sometimes escalate to full blown disputes between the parents and the carer.
When arguments with teens become more frequent, parents often feel helpless and may even begin questioning their parenting styles. In families where the parents are separated, each may question the parenting style of the other, leading to even more disagreements.
Arguments cause much unhappiness among all parties. In such cases, mediation can be the solution to help families settle their disputes effectively. Here’s why:
- Mediation is conducted in a respectful environment
Mediation is a respectful process that demands for all participants to speak politely and civilly while behaving appropriately toward the other people. The session has some ground rules set by the mediator and is free of distractions, so all participants devote their attention to identifying, communicating and resolving issues affecting the family.
- Mediation provides an avenue for everyone to be heard
Mediation is a neutral process where every participant gets an equal opportunity to be heard and where the mediator is simply there to facilitate the communication and the process. Parents and carers can share their thoughts toward their teenager’s inappropriate and hurtful behaviour and the teen can open up about issues bothering them and why they behave the way they did. When parents and children talk openly and frankly, they will be better able to relate and empathise with each other.
- Mediation is a confidential process
Discussions that happen during mediation are restricted to the room so that there is no loss of reputation to the parents, carers or the teen. Not only is mediation a discreet process, it can be also be conducted in a familiar and trusted environment of choice so as to encourage parent and child to be more comfortable and forthcoming in revealing their feelings and opinions without the fear of judgement.
- Including teenagers in the mediation session has a positive effect
By including teenagers in the mediation session, it allows them a platform to talk to their parents about issues that bother them. This makes them feel respected and valued as they get to participate in a process where their opinions matter and where they get to actively work with their parents in seeking resolution to the issues affecting their family and their relationships. Having the teen be part of the decision making process also helps them take responsibility for their actions and ownership of the outcome.
- Mediation levels the playing field
In mediation, parents, carers and child contribute equally towards identifying key issues and resolving them. Other concerns separate from issue at hand come to light and can also be addressed. The mediator acts as a neutral third party to help the family approach the issues pragmatically toward a joint resolution that has a lasting outcome. As such, parents, carers and children are able to overcome the generation gap and understand issues from each other’s perspective.
A great majority of teens do value family relationships but sometimes end up making choices or behaving in ways that upset their family and carers. Instead of avoiding the issue or confronting them alone and risking damage to the relationships, it is much better to talk things out in a mediation session. This will not only help preserve relationships within the family but also develop a deeper level of trust and security for the child.
At SHAW Mediation, our nationally accredited mediators include mediators who are also Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners. They facilitate the open exchange of dialogue between members of a family and carers and help them deal with conflicts so that harmony is restored within the family. Handling teen disputes does not have to be difficult nor painful. Let’s talk.