CONSCIOUS FAMILY RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
We ask people who work with us to review and attempt to abide by our "Rules of Engagement" in any mediation or negotiation setting. Doing so can help you achieve more efficient results, reduce the length of time required, and transition more gracefully through whatever process is occurring.
Respect and be patient with each other (and your mediator or attorney). Each person needs to have the opportunity to voice their truth so that the process can move forward. Also realize that everyone does not move at the same pace. Don't interrupt. When in the same room, no eye rolling, pen tapping, other energetic interruptions. At least be civil. Listen with true curiosity if you can.
Respect yourself. Listen to your instincts. Speak up. What is most important to you? Leaving things unexpressed often leads to misunderstandings and prevents you from getting what you want.
Special Note for Online Mediation: We expect all parties to commit to joining online mediation sessions from a confidential space whereby third parties cannot overhear or disrupt. Headphones are helpful to minimize inadvertent disclosure to third parties. Parties should immediately identify any disruption, and pause the mediation if appropriate. We expect all parties to focus on the session and to avoid distractions from other devices or computer applications.
Be Honest. Don’t hide anything. When the truth is spoken, it engenders trust and actually helps you get what you want. And it’s important to keep in mind that if you misrepresent the reality of your assets, the whole case can be re-opened later.
Speak only for yourself. Use “I” instead of “You” sentences. Only your personal experience is inarguable. “I got upset when you said that.” Rather than: “What you said was wrong and hurtful” or “You’re being a jerk.” No one can argue that you got upset after you heard what the other said.
Don’t make assumptions. Instead, check out your interpretations.
Limit Blaming and Shaming
Although you may have strong ideas and feelings about what happened and who is at fault, there are always multiple perspectives. Excessive blaming and shaming tends to bog down the discussion and cut off collaboration. Stay focused on the future.
State When You Are Triggered
When you’re emotionally triggered, your ability to be objective goes off-line. Notice how you’re feeling, then name it or request time to calm down and get grounded so that you don’t say or do something to impede progress. That may mean a short break or coming back another day.
Be Accountable for You
Although your feelings are absolutely valid, consider that every time you shift accountability to someone else for your feelings or your life circumstances, you disempower yourself. Ultimately, doing so puts you in the roll of victim and stands in the way of your own progress. And while you don’t want slip into the role of victim, be certain you don’t expect your spouse to take care of you through this process, either.