Let’s Talk About Mediation

What is mediation? Jo Guthrie, MAPs Mediation Worker, explains how mediation works and how it can help young people and families have better relationships together.

Are you living with your parents or guardian? How are things at home? Are you finding that tempers are flaring, and tensions are rising? It’s not always easy living under one roof – especially during lockdown.

If you are struggling with family relationships, mediation can help. Mediation is a process which enables you to explore your issues together and try to resolve them. It provides a safe and neutral space which can help you to maintain better family relationships.

I am Jo, and I’m MAP’s mediation worker.

If things are not going well between you and your parents or guardian, but you want them to improve, then mediation may be really helpful. It may help you to come to a mutual agreement in settling your differences – or it may just give you a chance to clear the air. Sometimes, clearing the air is enough to smooth things out. It can be surprisingly effective to take some time out to constructively talk through things that have been upsetting you. I am there as a third party, who doesn’t take sides but makes sure everyone gets a chance to speak and be heard.

MAP’s mediation service is a free, voluntary process – it only takes place if both parties want to do it. It takes place in an informal, non-judgmental atmosphere. I set ground rules to make sure that things stay as calm as possible, and I can help you to come up with a written agreement if that’s helpful, to refer to afterwards.

You’d be surprised how often two people come to me who are barely on speaking terms, who feel that they have said such horrible things to each other, or behaved so badly, or got into a pattern where they are arguing about every little thing, that there is little hope of fixing things – and yet after just an hour of sitting calmly talking it through and hearing each other’s point of view, things start to heal.

I have worked with young people who have been on the point of being kicked out of home, or who have already been kicked out, but who via mediation have managed to work things out and go back home. I’ve worked with young people who are having an utterly miserable time in their household just because they can’t agree a rota for washing up, or agree how late they can stay out at weekends. I’ve worked with young people who are having such a stressful time at school or college that it is affecting how they are relating to their family. Again, with a little bit of work, and a commitment to improving things, relationships often improve.

The lockdown that Covid-19 is putting unprecedented strain on people – their finances, their living situations, and their family relationships. It is likely that life will not go back to normal for some time to come. Things that might usually be tolerable are becoming harder to put up with – and relationships that were already a bit strained may be reaching breaking point. Sounds familiar? Then please get in touch. I would like to help you. Although I can’t currently see people face to face as I usually would, I am still here for young people: offering phone and online consultations, and online sessions via Zoom. If you think mediation may be able to help with a situation you’re going through, do contact me for a chat by emailing advice@map.uk.net Or you can call our FREE Advice line on 0800 0744454