Anger, Divorce Mediation, Conflict Mediation and Parenting Consulting

Hello!
This post is about anger and the fight or flight response in particular we often get when we get upset. I was at a mediation class recently, and the presenter was Michael Gregory of Michael Gregory Consulting LLC. Mr. Gregory is a former IRS agent. Mr. Gregory said that there is lots of neuroscience research these days and one of the most interesting findings is how long a fight-or-flight response can affect a person, even after you calm down. I you get the response, you have about 9 seconds to calm down before your body gets flooded with chemicals that help you fight or flee, but are not terribly helpful for people trying to have a discussion. These chemicals stay in your system for 24 hours or until the next time you go to sleep. Not helpful for divorce mediation or parenting consulting!

The upshot of the research for mediation is that once you get this response, you are going to make mediation much harder for at least the rest of the day. We all should think about this in our interactions with others, but it is especially important for those who are in mediation. If you start to get upset for more than a few seconds, often it is better to take a break and calm down than to try to stick it out in session. If it reaches 10 seconds, then break for the day, however inconvenient that might be, or at least separate the parties in different rooms for divorce mediation or parenting consulting.

More Late Winter Musings about Mediation and Parenting Consulting

Greetings from a snowy April 4!

I know on the calendar it’s spring, but with 10 inches of new snow yesterday and a temp of 8 degrees, it’s still winter in Minnesota!

It has been a hard winter, and one which tests the patience of everyone. But if you are considering an end to a relationship it is especially hard. Just when you’d like to move out and move on, the weather makes that more difficult. When the snow melts for good, I get flooded with folks wanting mediation and parenting consulting. Right now, I could get you in for mediation next week, but with calls coming in, soon I may not be able to schedule for mediation or parenting consulting as quickly.

People sometimes ask me how I can mediate or consult with couples who disagree so much. Parenting consulting is easier, because if I have to, I can make a decision and it usually works well. But mediation is trickier, so I have to use ground rules that either I have, or a couple makes up and agrees to. When couples agree on ground rules together, that is the first step toward a successful mediation.

Mediation and parenting is easier with my help. I can help folks and their kids to a better life!

Tension Level, Divorce Mediation and Church Mediation

When people are trying to work out a particularly difficult problem in mediation, whether church mediation or divorce mediation, a couple things happen. Tempers begin to flair, of course, and often cutting and/or sarcastic remarks are exchanged. What else happens?

Often the fight or flight response comes on in your brain.When that happens, people have about 7 seconds to calm down, so experts tell me, before the brain is flooded with biochemicals. Now that isn’t bad when you’re a primitive person trying to deal with a tiger or a fire that might be coming your way. But it’s not very helpful when it comes to civil discussions. After 7 seconds, even if people do calm down, those chemicals stay in your system for 12 hours or until you sleep next. So in a sense, even if you do calm down after being upset, you’ve still lost, because those biochemicals are going to hang out in your brain, making arguments or emotional withdrawal much easier.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is to call it a day for the mediation session. Sometimes you can continue to work if you are in separate rooms, but it’s slower. If you do manage to calm people folks down in those first 7 seconds, then it is still best to take a break or at least work with just one party or group.

This can make divorce mediation or church mediation slow, tenuous and spread over many days. But often doing it this way is the only real opportunity for change in a challenging situation. The only other alternative is court, sad, but true

Spring is Almost Here. It’s Mediation Season!

It’s been a long, snowy winter here in Minnesota and many couples are feeling a bit testy. Or more than a bit. Every couple has issues, and issues don’t always have to lead to divorce and divorce mediation. Many issues can be resolved on your own without a mediator, if you are willing and able to communicate.
Many people in troubled marriages can’t communicate, or at least, not without help. That’s where I come in. I can help couples work things out so they don’t divorce. In cases where folks are simply not compatible any more (if you ever were), I can help you divorce amicably, affordably and relatively painlessly. For you folks who have never married, I can help, too. I can help you work out a child custody agreement that you can get signed into law by a judge or referee.

Conflict in relationships is almost never easy. I can help. Marriage mediation, divorce mediation and child custody issues I have lots of experience with. Do you need a parenting time expediter (PTE) or a parenting consultant, or even a custody evaluator and a full custody evaluation? I can do that too.
I can simply be someone to help you reach decisions with no other help from
me, or I can put my years of drafting agreements to use for you, with dozens of suggestions of what might work well for you, and what won’t work well for you or your children (do not exchange a baby month-by-month and expect him or her to have a good relationship with both parents). I know what works for you, and more importantly, I know what can work for your kids. Call me!612-670-7980 or 507-269-9079.

I can come to you for mediation. And you will get things done!

A Hint of Spring and Divorce Mediation

We human beings are creatures with moods that can be affected by so many things. One of the things that people seldom think of, but which can affect one’s mood dramatically is the weather. This is especially true of people who are considering separation and divorce. When we’re stressed by losing one of the most important relationships we have, we are often less aware of the things which affect us.

Today there is a hint of spring in the air in Minnesota. When things get spring-like, it is common that I get calls for divorce mediation or parenting consultant work. Now this time of year, people are not willing to make a big move. It’s still quite cold and snowy-covered. But they are thinking ahead to when they might have the energy to move on. I can help them to do that.

It is not easy for anyone involved with a divorce or separation, even though you both may believe it is in yours, and especially your children’s best interests. Mediation with me can make such a process as simple and comfortable as it can be (it never is really comfortable).

There are other ways to separate that are much more explosive and expensive. But those ways most often just make the pain and hardship even worse.

To make it through a divorce you need to handle one step at a time. I can help you take those steps. Call me for a free consultation. I am happy to help!

Co-Parenting During the Holidays (mediation can help)

The holidays are coming, and they present a unique challenge for couples who are divorced and separated. The patterns that were established when you were together are still there, and now whose house to go to has even more challenges. That’s why mediation can help. Divorce mediation or post-divorce mediation can make things a lot easier. I have worked with hundreds of couples, so I have a few ideas about child custody that you may not have thought of:

How important is celebrating on the exact day of the holiday?

If you celebrate before or after, it is easier to schedule family time, easier to get food and presents at stores or online because you’re not fighting other people trying to do the same thing. You can breeze through stores in nothing flat. Your young children will not even know when the holiday is. Older kids will generally not care, especially if the holiday is celebrated earlier. They may even get more presents and special meals that way.

How important is it to have ALL the family together?

Celebrating in smaller groups can be less hectic, and enable your loved ones to spend more time with their family one-on-one. games are possible in groups of 4-6 that may not be possible with larger groups. You may even be able to avoid difficult Uncle Ernie the drunk or Great Aunt Susie the cheek-pincher. It is often less expensive, and perhaps more meaningful.

What is the most important holiday for you and your children?

You can often trade holidays that are important to an ex who wants them (Christmas for 4th of July) so you both win.

With these and many other questions I can ask, you can make co- parenting work, even during the holidays. Schedule a free appointment and you’ll see what I mean.

Glen

Fall and Family Disputes Need Mediation

Here we are in fall. The sun is lower and the weather cooler. It is a downer time of year for most of us. We feel cold and dread the coming of winter (all except those who like winter sports: my daughter, for example).

This can affect our ability to manage our feelings with respect to our families. We get irritable and that leads to fights, and even to separations. if you’re already separated and considering divorce, even more so.

What can you do about it? be careful with boundaries. Be careful what you say to your significant other; you can’t take it back very easily. Don’t assume you know what anyone else thinks or feels, because you don’t. Don’t turn disagreements into fights, and fights into something even worse. It will save you a lot of headaches if you work it out or try mediation.

My mediation business can help. Whatever your problem; divorce, never married custody, maybe you need a parenting consultant or custody evaluator. If you can work it out with the help of someone else, it will be better for you, your kids and your finances. Don’t go directly to an attorney, why don’t you try me instead?

Glen

Divorce and Summer Schedules.

Greetings!

I want to talk to you today about divorce, separation, mediation and summer schedules.

The first thing to know is that according to Minnesota law (and I would guess most states), in a divorce the most important concern is the children (if you have any together). That means that if something is helpful for the kids and inconvenient for you, the kids come first. For example, at a young age, it is better for kids to see their father or mother more often for less time than less often for more time. This may seem intuitive, and yet I had a case where the parents were exchanging a baby every other month, and drove 500 miles.That’s crazy. for babies several times a week are most helpful for good bonding with each parent

I urge you to work out a schedule that works for the children as much as possible. Do what you can, even if it means the driving division is not even. Maybe one parent is unwilling or unable to transport the children to an activity. Best for the child to simply do the transportation and understand that you are helping the children move forward and heal. Isn’t such healing worth a little of your time? Yes, it can get annoying when one parent can’t or won’t step up to responsibility and yet you are still helping your kids at a difficult time for them. get help from me to work out visitation schedules and parenting time if you can’t do it yourselves.

Having said that, summer is a usually time of less stress for kids: less (or no) school, less homework, fewer activities etc. So kids can tolerate irregular or late schedules better. Summer is often the best time for longer vacations or for one parent who had less time during the school year to “catch up.” make up your summer schedules carefully and wisely and your kids will thank you for it, and reward you with happy stress-free memories and solid growth.

Happy Parenting!

Glen
Minnesota Qualified Neutral

Comparing Family Mediation Services

Comparing Family Mediation Services: All Family Mediation Services Are Not Equal

When people ask me what I do, and I tell them I do Minneapolis Divorce Mediation or St. Paul Divorce Mediation, people often ask me “Are you an attorney?” The answer is “No.” And that’s in many ways a good thing. You don’t have to be an attorney to do Minneapolis Family Mediation or St. Paul Family Mediation. There is much more to providing Divorce Mediation services than being an attorney, though there are some  good mediator attorneys out there Why only some?.

In law school attorneys are taught how to fight, not cooperate, so it means many attorneys don’t know how to settle a dispute without taking sides. Minnesota divorce mediation services are 80-90% attorneys. Minneapolis mediation services and St. Paul mediation services fit this pattern, especially now since so many people have been  burned by going to court. the truth is, most Minnesota judges don’t want to settle divorce at all- they want parents to settle through discussion and Minnesota family mediation services. That’s because judges don’t know your situation, don’t know your kids, and however they decide, one or both parents are usually unhappy.

I don’t claim to know as much about law as a judge or attorneys. But isn’t Minnesota divorce mediation more about cooperating than fighting? Who decides what’s fair? Shouldn’t it be the parents? I know how to set limits, calm people and support them through the process. People can do what’s best for their kids with full knowledge of who their kids are- not a name and a birth date, but living breathing individuals. I was a chaplain at Mayo before I was a mediator, and the skills I learned in the ICU and ER with families make my mediation services different. With a good agreement, parents can start a pattern of cooperating, no fighting. Kids can see parents cooperating and they can accept the divorce more easily: it’s not the end of their world

Not all Minnesota mediation services are created equal!

Divorce Mediation Expectations

What are your divorce mediation expectations? Mediation is in some ways easy to understand and in other ways difficult. Most people when they think of mediation, they think of negotiation, and that dreaded word “compromise.” Actually, mediation in divorce  or divorce mediation (some call it family mediation) actually means working out a new set of values for the couple post split and esp. for child raising afterwards. Values about the old partner  include respect, fairness and trust. What are the new rules for relating?

Viewed in this way, divorce mediation seems easier. Both people want respect, fairness and trust. The old ways to express those values didn’t work, or else you’d still be together. So you need to find new ways. When you were together, trust may have meant that whenever your partner interrupted you, you at least tried to give him or her attention at that moment. But now that you’re apart respect might mean waiting until a certain time to talk, or to communicate  in a certain way. You might decide that some times and ways of communicating are the best and to use only these is being respectful.

Children can actually make divorce mediation, make family mediation easier. Though permanent separation is very hard on children themselves, it is easier  for couples to cooperate when children are involved. That’s because  each of you have a role post separation that is in someways the same as it was before: you are both parents. Since you are parents, most parents have the common value of wanting what is best for your child. Usually, that value is and should be your top priority. That’s important to remember.

You two may have different ways of express that value  of “best for the kids” i.e. one parent might believe it’s best for boys to play football while the other believes it’s too dangerous. But you both still want your children to learn to play with others and get exercise without getting hurt.  And so you still both understand that getting an agreement in custody mediation is important for your kids; so important, in fact, that you should be willing to accept things to get an agreement ,that you might not otherwise, for their sake, to avoid further pain for your kids. Even a mediocre agreement is usually better than  no agreement, because it avoids the damage to the children by the two of you continuing to fight.  Getting an agreement to ease your kids’ pain is more important than getting almost anything else you want in a settlement.

If you keep the children in mind as most important, that is more helpful than focusing on the turmoil the two of you might have. the state of Minnesota asks judges to focus on the kids’ best interests in divorce and separation, so you should, too. Divorce mediation can even help you understand each other enough so you can co-parent effectively. you may give up your “perfect settlement”. but your kids will thank you for it, both now and in the years to come.