Mediation Through the Lens of a Child and Now an Intern

How I Discovered The Topic of Mediation

In 2011, my parents separated. I didn’t know that they were going through such hardships when I was younger because they learned to co-parent without difficulty. Later I found out that they were going to mediation, which is when I first found out what mediation consisted of. My parents wanted the best life for my sister and I and they were able to succeed at that through their
mediation process because they learned how to communicate with each other effectively and efficiently. Although it was a new concept to my sister and I, that our parents would no longer be together, I think that it also helped to shape us into who we are today.

Even though our parents were living separately, they still ensured that they would be there for us no matter what and showed us that we were their first priority. Knowing this at such a young age and during such a vulnerable moment, let us know that it wasn’t our fault and that we could still rely on our parents just the same as before, only in a different manner. Even though we didn’t know the specifics of why they were separating, I believe that our parents just sitting us down and talking to us together about what they had decided to do is something that has honestly still stuck with me because it made me feel included and not as if everything was thrown on me.

Although many couples’ situations are different and everyone goes through their own unique experiences, as a child whose parents were honest and open about what they were going through, I believe that it helped me to understand the separation process a lot better.

Jumping into my college experience, I became interested in the legal field because there were so many fascinating parts to it and so many different routes that one could take. I had learned about courtroom scenarios and all about attorneys but had always wondered what other legal areas there were that didn’t involve a courtroom. I had done a little bit of research on mediation and had learned that it was still in the legal field and I would still be helping people, just in a different way. I was able to connect with my parents about their previous mediation experience and how they felt about it and heard lots of positive things, one big one being that they felt as though it helped them become the best possible parents for my sister and I. As I did more research on it, I realized that one of the biggest takeaways people have from mediation is a better communication style to help support their kid(s) which is why I believe that I had a more positive experience when my parents separated. Although separation was still difficult and took a lot of time to process, I believe that the way my parents went about it and the advice that they took from their mediator made it the best that it could be.

During my time interning at The Mediation Center, I was able to learn a valuable lesson about how important communication is throughout the separation process. Not only in the sense that couples need to communicate with each other but also with their children so that they are all able to heal and go through a vulnerable moment together. If my parents hadn’t let my sister or I in on what they were deciding to do and gone about it the caring way that they did, I might not have remembered it as such a positive experience and may instead feel negatively towards it.

The mediation process has really opened my eyes as to how important it is that people make the decisions for their families and themselves since ultimately they are going to know what fits best for them and their futures.

Cassidy Utter – Mediation Intern

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