Comments: Simple Mediation Methods Can Help Children Resolve Disputes

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Stuart Reid, London, England   12/30/09
Thanks for this post Michael. I particularly like the second and last points you make - must bear them in mind when mediating with my 6 and 4-year-old boys! Stuart

Muhammad  Abdullah, Madison WI     12/09/09
Resolving Children's Dispute
There is an Arabic word, Fiqh or understanding, that is a central part of Islamic Law, and Science, and that is indespensable to any outcome, or verdict. I agree with what you have stressed with respect to empowering children, and creating the capacity to resolve conflicts with their siblings, and others fairly. However, as a parent of seven adult children (four sons, and three daughters), and currently the single parent of two daughters, by two different women, (not the mothers of the seven)I try to allow them the space to negotiate their differences, but because of the age difference, and I would do the same if they were mixed gender, you have to be aware of potential manipulation, pressuring, and bullying. The majority of the time, I can rely on my 11 year olds help and assistance with her younger sibling, but she also, because of the otherness i. d. that she unfortunately receives from her mother, she can be uneven in her dealings. Because of this I have to be aware of oppression on her part, as I did when we lived with my six year olds brother, who is now 13, when her mom and I were married and lived together. Thank you for the insight, and information. Sincerely, Muhammad

Alan Sharland, London UK   12/09/09
Great article!
Excellent, particularly the point in the last paragraph that the problem is not yours. Our interventions that try to rescue the situation serve to escalate the problem into a competition to prove who's 'right' rather than make it clear the responsibility to resolve lies with those involved - in this case children, but the approach is relevant in all disputes. So you use the 'orange exercise' too! :-) What a great summary of useful, mediation based approaches and particularly glad it was previously published in a parenting magazine.

Ann  , Clarmeont CA     12/08/09
You have really hit the nail on it's proverbial heads. Your suggestions are excellent!! As a developmental psychologist and divorce mediator, I have taught many parenting classes and what you have said is right on!! Thanks!