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Mediators Can Help HIGH Conflict: Fact or Fiction?

Mediators Can Help HIGH Conflict: Fact or Fiction?

People tell me “I want to refer someone to you but they are really high conflict so there’s no way mediators could work for them.” Then, I take a deep breathe, resist the urge to say something like “that doesn’t make sense!” and ask them to tell me about the situation. FICTION: Mediators only works for Continue Reading »

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The Assumption Trap | Lessons from Family Mediation Services

The Assumption Trap | Lessons from Family Mediation Services

I often find inspiration for posts from my family mediation services. But the reality is that communication lessons are present everyday if we pay attention. A friend of mine was venting to me recently about his mother-in-law. He is a videographer. Exceptionally talented, award-winning, and creative. He has made a great career creating marketing materials Continue Reading »

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A Mediator’s Best Friend Can Remedy Your Relationship Issues

A Mediator’s Best Friend Can Remedy Your Relationship Issues

I am a mediator and I recently lost one of the loves of my life. A best friend. A source of unconditional support. His name was Brady. My dog, Brady. I provide family mediation, and yes, I am one of those pet-owners. You know the kind. The ones who consider their pet a member of the Continue Reading »

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Dealing With Divorce Can Be Easier When You Think Like a Kindergartener

Dealing With Divorce Can Be Easier When You Think Like a Kindergartener

I am always trying to find a unique twist for my posts. Something that sets my ideas apart. Thinking about this post, common expressions I hear from parents in mediation kept running through my mind. Statements like: He’s so demanding. She’s so controlling. He’s rude. She’s bossy. Hmmm…I wonder what mind-blowing advice I could provide Continue Reading »

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Is All Fair in Love and War? Lessons for Marriages, Divorce, and Separation Agreements

Is All Fair in Love and War? Lessons for Marriages, Divorce, and Separation Agreements

Common separation agreement ideas: “We’ll just split things down the middle. That’s just the fair thing to do.” “We just want to be fair so we’ll add it all up and split it 50/50.” These are reasonable ideas. But does that mean they are “fair?” What Do You Mean? Of Course it Does! Does fairness Continue Reading »

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6 Ways to Deal with Rigid Black and White Thinkers Inspired by Mediation for Divorce Clients

6 Ways to Deal with Rigid Black and White Thinkers Inspired by Mediation for Divorce Clients

  Do you ever feel like banging your head against the wall when dealing with rigid and inflexible people? Folks who get stuck in only one way of thinking? Who have trouble seeing the forest through the trees? Ever find yourself in a conversation that seems to be going nowhere because the other person doesn’t Continue Reading »

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3 Divorce Mediation Tips: How to Deal with Family Problems

3 Divorce Mediation Tips: How to Deal with Family Problems

Echos of a divorce mediation: She doesn’t get it! She’s SO emotional. All she’s going to do is talk about her FEELINGS. He doesn’t get it! He’s SO patronizing. All he’s going to do is talk about what is LOGICAL. Stereotypes for sure. Gender-aside, you can certainly relate to arguing with someone whose brain operates Continue Reading »

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Ping-Pong Arguments: Two Tips for Dealing with Family Conflict Inspired by the Divorce Mediation Process

Ping-Pong Arguments: Two Tips for Dealing with Family Conflict Inspired by the Divorce Mediation Process

There are some great concepts that mediators use in the mediation process that can be applied right at home. Let’s break down mediator jargon to make it useful for dealing with family conflict. My way or the highway doesn’t work well in the divorce mediation process, and it won’t in your home either… Positions: Many Continue Reading »

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10 Tips to Avoid Sounding Like Charlie Brown’s Teacher | Improve Communication in Relationships

10 Tips to Avoid Sounding Like Charlie Brown’s Teacher | Improve Communication in Relationships

Ever been told you should listen more? To wait before you respond? To just shut up and just pay attention for a second? To stop sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher going wah-wa-wah-wa-wah…? Solid advice, right? Rubbish! Or that’s what someone named Elissa wrote to me after reading one of my posts about communication in relationships. Continue Reading »

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5 Steps to a Great Apology | Family Conflict Management Strategies From a Divorce Mediator

5 Steps to a Great Apology | Family Conflict Management Strategies From a Divorce Mediator

Ever receive an apology that didn’t feel apologetic? Left you feeling worse? Angrier? Infuriated? In mediation — and in life — I see apologies of all shapes, sizes and colors. Some feel authentic and cathartic. Some feel compulsory and meaningless. Some feel passive-aggressive and irritating. And some downright hurtful. “I’m sorry you feel that way” Continue Reading »

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Should I Get A Divorce? Why Talking About Your Reasons For Divorce Might Be A Game Changer

Should I Get A Divorce? Why Talking About Your Reasons For Divorce Might Be A Game Changer

Sometimes the hardest conversations, the ones we dread the most, provide the greatest opportunity for growth and change in a relationship. I thought about this after chatting with a friend about a tough time with her husband. For her, the “D” word changed everything. That’s right. I’m talking about Divorce. What a loaded word! It Continue Reading »

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Hate Losing Arguments? 3 Conflict Mediation Steps to Improve Marriage Communication and Win!

Hate Losing Arguments? 3 Conflict Mediation Steps to Improve Marriage Communication and Win!

I had a divorce mediation client who loved to win. He loved to win in basketball, business, and investments. His success in life was a result of his competitive nature, he believed. His wife hated his competitive nature. She thought it was short-sighted and interfered with their communication and decision-making. Losing Marriage Arguments They both Continue Reading »

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Child Custody Mediation Tip: One Itsy-Bitsy Word Can Make a Huge Difference

Child Custody Mediation Tip: One Itsy-Bitsy Word Can Make a Huge Difference

Two never-married parents in a child custody mediation despise one another. They chose child custody mediation to push themselves to improve their communication and co-parenting. They are practicing some classic communication strategies. Reflecting back what they are hearing to make sure they understand one another. Listening without interrupting. Even trying to validate feelings. Amazing strategies. Continue Reading »

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How to Deal With Teenage Drama | Mediation | Teen Counseling Natick, MA

How to Deal With Teenage Drama | Mediation | Teen Counseling Natick, MA

Understatement of the year: teenagers are tough to parent. Tell me something you don’t know, right? Some conventional ways parents deal with their intransigent teens involve arguing, punishing, ignoring, avoiding, and when push comes to shove, therapy. I recently had success with an unconventional approach with two “heated” teenagers who almost fought on the bus. Continue Reading »

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Feeling Ignored? MA Child Support Mediation Shows Why You Get Bewildered When Solutions to Family Problems Are Ignored…And What To Do About It!

Feeling Ignored? MA Child Support Mediation Shows Why You Get Bewildered When Solutions to Family Problems Are Ignored…And What To Do About It!

Ever offer a solution to a problem that you know will help the other person? A brilliant, selfless, creative, and irrefutable solution? Like this one I heard during a MA child support mediation: “I really won’t care if you reduce the child support.” How many parents paying child support would LOVE to be told that Continue Reading »

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One Simple Way to Improve Marital Problems, Family Conflict, & Communication in Relationships

One Simple Way to Improve Marital Problems, Family Conflict, & Communication in Relationships

Ever get really impatient waiting for an answer to a question? I know a lot of people like this (you know, like me). Unfortunately, this impatience causes problems. Let’s take Jake, a student with whom I work. One of his teachers had a frustrating experience with him. The teacher asked him a question. Jake looked Continue Reading »

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Hate Your Ex More Than You Love Your Kids? Children of Divorce

Hate Your Ex More Than You Love Your Kids? Children of Divorce

There is a family judge in Massachusetts who makes decisions for children of divorce every day. She has a sign hanging on her door that reads: Do You Hate Your Ex More Than You Love Your Kids? Provocative question, right? You might be thinking “of course I don’t — that’s just ridiculous!” Maybe you are Continue Reading »

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Shut Up To Improve Communication Skills! Marriage and Parenting Advice From a Family Mediator

Shut Up To Improve Communication Skills! Marriage and Parenting Advice From a Family Mediator

I used to interview prospective staff for a residential treatment program before I became a family mediator. Whenever I asked them to describe qualities that would make them a good child care worker I was invariably told something like, “I love to help people and I’m a GREAT listener.” Yet, when I would walk in to Continue Reading »

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Need Marriage Help? Does Your Partner Ever Sound Like They Speak A Foreign Language? How To Handle Conflict Using Mediation Techniques

Need Marriage Help? Does Your Partner Ever Sound Like They Speak A Foreign Language? How To Handle Conflict Using Mediation Techniques

When you are arguing with someone do you ever feel like the other person is speaking a foreign language? That they don’t make any sense? When this happens to me it is like listening to french over twenty years after studying it in high school — I recognize a few words but miss the larger Continue Reading »

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Relationship Issues Stressing You Out? 3 Tips to Improve Marriage Problems Without a Marriage Counselor

Relationship Issues Stressing You Out? 3 Tips to Improve Marriage Problems Without a Marriage Counselor

“Why do I NEED to consider her point of view after all the marriage problems we’ve had, and the way she’s treated me?” A divorce mediation client angrily asked this of me after I made a comment suggesting the possibility that he might need to consider his wife’s perspective. I was trying to suggest that Continue Reading »

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Relationship Help That Could Save Your Marriage

Relationship Help That Could Save Your Marriage

“Stop trying to fix all my problems!” “You’re NOT LISTENING to me!” “You don’t GET it! Sound familiar in your relationship? If you or your partner have either uttered something like this out of sheer exasperation, or have had these barbs thrown in your face, you have to watch this video. Seriously. Check it out. Continue Reading »

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Parenting Tips for How to Help Your Kids Resolve Conflict

Parenting Tips for How to Help Your Kids Resolve Conflict

It’s Halloween time. Two brothers are upset because one of the two pumpkins had to be thrown out. Brothers did what brothers do: argue. They both wanted the remaining pumpkin to be their pumpkin. Their mother tried her best to encourage them to share, to reprimand them, and even threatened to take the pumpkin away Continue Reading »

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4 Key Strategies for Successful Co-Parenting After Divorce

4 Key Strategies for Successful Co-Parenting After Divorce

Co-Parenting After Divorce While moving through divorce can seem like an insurmountable obstacle, for many parents it is just the beginning of a new and equally intimidating challenge — co-parenting your children. Hats off to all of you who have chosen to remain in your children’s lives as co-parents. It means both of you care Continue Reading »

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Jedi Training to Develop Conflict Resolution Strategies

Jedi Training to Develop Conflict Resolution Strategies

So, I am one of those cheesy people that draws meaning from the original classic sci-fi Star Wars trilogy. I know it is mostly over-simplified messages packaged with light sabers, cool characters, mystical forces, and huge spaceships. But what can I tell you? I love it. Why am I telling you this? To set the stage Continue Reading »

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Co-Parenting After Divorce When You Hate Your Ex But Love Your Kids

Co-Parenting After Divorce When You Hate Your Ex But Love Your Kids

A few weeks ago a divorce mediation client was venting frustration in a private session about certain aspects of child support and co-parenting after divorce. She was convinced that her husband would be irresponsible with the money and spend more of it on himself than the kids. To prove her point she pointed out that Continue Reading »

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Stuck in an Argument? Check Out the Balcony View. A Massachusetts Divorce Mediation Tip

Stuck in an Argument? Check Out the Balcony View. A Massachusetts Divorce Mediation Tip

Ever get so frustrated in a disagreement because you just know that you are right? That your point of view seems so crystal clear? Of course, you have. I certainly have! It feels good to stick to your guns. Doing so may even occasionally work in your favor. Most of the time however the tension Continue Reading »

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Mediation For Divorce In Mass: Be Warned Against Destructive Divorce Marketing!

Mediation For Divorce In Mass: Be Warned Against Destructive Divorce Marketing!

While I was at the gym today listening to my favorite sports radio station I heard a commercial about divorce in Massachusetts. It made me stop in my tracks. Literally. I mean it. I must have looked ridiculous. I just stood where I was listening to my headphones. The advertiser, a local law group, directed Continue Reading »

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Decision Making That Will Stick: Mediation Examples You Can Learn From

Decision Making That Will Stick: Mediation Examples You Can Learn From

I hear “I should…” all the time. General Life Examples of I Should Decision Making: I should go to the gym…(but watches more TV instead) I should go on a diet…(but digs in to her ice cream instead) I should save more money…(but shops online instead) I should call her and mend fences…(but holds the Continue Reading »

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Family Communication, Parenting Help, and How to Stay Calm: Lessons Learned From a Sobbing Hysterical Tantrumming 6 Year Old

Family Communication, Parenting Help, and How to Stay Calm: Lessons Learned From a Sobbing Hysterical Tantrumming 6 Year Old

A “Hysterical” Miscommunication A few weeks ago my son had an out of the ordinary temper tantrum – OK, he was flipping out — during a sleepover with his grandparents. They were calling me, I was calling them, and all the while he is yelling and crying in the background. It was stressful all around Continue Reading »

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Dealing With Marriage Communication and Relationship Issues? Stay Out of the Weeds

Dealing With Marriage Communication and Relationship Issues? Stay Out of the Weeds

It is often said that the “devil is in the details” and certainly this is often sage communication advice. Other times, especially during arguments, divorce mediation, marriage communication, and conflict in general, I would argue that the “devil IS the details.” Devilish Hypocrisy Consider these points of conflict that I have recently heard during mediations: Continue Reading »

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WHAT? Avoid Misunderstanding to Improve Communication in Marriage

WHAT? Avoid Misunderstanding to Improve Communication in Marriage

I recently followed a thread on a blog for school counselors. The thread began this way: “Question: If an 8th grader tells you – as their counselor – that they are cutting, would you tell their parents? Please explain why or why not…I am interested to see the variety of reasoning on this matter…it keeps Continue Reading »

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Angry at a Family Member? Learn Family Conflict Resolution Skills to Deal With Family Issues

Angry at a Family Member? Learn Family Conflict Resolution Skills to Deal With Family Issues

“I just don’t understand why my brother won’t listen to me!” I was asked this somewhat rhetorical question yesterday while explaining mediation to someone. This woman was frustrated by how her brother berated his son in front of other people. He refused to follow her advice. She felt he was embarrassing his son for no Continue Reading »

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Lessons Learned Providing Mediations: Ben’s Mediation Blog

Lessons Learned Providing Mediations: Ben’s Mediation Blog

I am a family and divorce mediator.  When I say I love mediations to people I often get one of the following responses: Really? (Translation: why in the world would you want to do that?), or… Really? (Translation: I have no idea what that is but I’ll play along), or.. Really? (Translation: my aunt’s sister’s next Continue Reading »

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