During high conflict mediations, it can be tempting
to point out how unreasonable, wrong, misguided
or irrational the other party is being.
The risk of doing so is two-fold:
One, the mediator (who in some cases may be the
person who ends up making decisions about
your parenting schedule if you enter arbitration)
may perceive you as frantic, neurotic or hyper-critical,
even if you aren't any of those things in regular life.
And two, every minute you spend talking about
how unreasonable the other party is would be much
better spent being spectacularly respectful and reasonable
yourself. His/her unreasonableness will then reveal itself in
contrast to your well-thought-out and respectfully
communicated position. You won't need to point it out.
So don't waste precious time and energy trying to
expose the other party's flaws or issues - instead keep the
spotlight on your own strengths, including compassion,
generosity, acceptance/tolerance of differences, and
grounded, centered communication skills.
And if you find yourself getting upset, aggressive, or
defensive, ask for a bathroom break and use it
to compose yourself. Call a friend, do some deep
breathing, say a prayer -- whatever brings you
back to center and your heart.
Coming to the table as your best self is the most
important and helpful thing you can do.
For more information about Karen's parenting or interpersonal communication consultations by phone, visit www.karenalonge.com