Yesterday, there was a change of tone on our Facebook and Twitter feeds as people celebrated the festival of Thanksgiving. Once an American festival, but now celebrated across the world, the fourth Thursday of every November provides an opportunity to share what you’re thankful for with family and friends.
This year, Thanksgiving fell at the end of Resolution’s Family Dispute Resolution Week – a week to raise the awareness of the importance of parents putting their children's needs first during divorce. As mediators, we help parents make decisions about their families and encourage parents to put their children’s needs at the very centre of their plans for the future, putting their children first. In the midst of strained and broken adult relationships – parents are always thankful to be able to talk about their children in mediation – their personalities, the things their children enjoy. As mediators we rarely get to meet the children who are part of the family – but by talking about them, parents can paint powerful pictures of who their children are. Sharing stories about children together helps to create common ground in the mediation room and certainly helps parents to put their children first in the process of separation.
We recently worked with a couple whose adult relationship had broken down and communication was very difficult. Yet at the conclusion of the mediation process they had successfully created a Parenting Plan. The couple were thankful for family mediation saying “we would recommend giving family mediation a go to anyone. And at the end of the process we are hopeful that our son will grow up knowing that we both love him, even though we are no longer together.”