Parent-Teen Mediation: Family Counseling Services For When Parenting Teenagers Is Hard
It is harder now than ever parenting challenging teenagers. Text messaging, social media, and normal adolescent development have undercut healthy face-to-face communication between teens and their parents.
New Ways of Parenting Troubled Teenagers To Improve Parent Child Relationships
Unlike therapy, parent teen mediation is a focused problem solving process. Mediation can provide immediate relief to parents and teens at odds over important teenage problems. Using mediation to talk to your teenager can help you overcome the tension, arguing, and disrespect that comes along with hot button topics such as:
- School problems
- Household rules
- Dating issues
- Choice of friends
Family Counseling Services: Differences Between Parent Teen Mediation and Family Therapy
Parent-Teen family mediation is very different from therapy. In fact, it is a wonderful complement to individual therapy and strengthens the parent child relationship.
Adolescents meet with clinicians for any number of reasons – to overcome obstacles, explore identity, vent frustrations and develop skills. The family is often simultaneously struggling with conflicts that need to be addressed in the here and now. Parent child conflict can cause so much tension in the household that it becomes an obstacle for effective communication in the home and for the teenager in therapy.
Mediation is a focused problem solving activity. Mediation does not interfere with the important clinical work being addressed in individual therapy and family counseling services.
What to Expect in Parent Teen Mediation
During parent teen mediation the client should expect that I:
- Will Remain Neutral. Clinicians may offer up their opinion on any number of issues or dynamics that surface in a session. As a mediator, I facilitate the process and discussion but keep my opinions to myself.
- Will NOT Identify a Specific Patient/Client. The mediation is not about the “troubled teen” or “bad parent” but rather the parent child conflict. I am working with a family unit trying to solve some serious immediate conflict.
- Will Focus on the Present and Future. As a clinician there are times that exploring the past in detail can be helpful. As a mediator, I help the family move away from what happened toward a discussion about what will happen.
- Will Not Provide a Couch. As a mediator, I provide a conference room and waiting room. The added formality of the mediation process feels safe for many families and sets the stage for a successful discussion.
- Will Help Families Solve Problems: The discussion is geared to concrete problem solving.
- Will Draft Agreements: Some families find it helpful for the mediator to document decisions that are made in mediation.
- Will meet for Longer Periods: Most mediation sessions last about two hours but are flexible to the needs of the family. Two hours typically provides long enough time for everyone to have their voices heard and generate mutually agreeable solutions.
- Will Maintain Confidentiality: Information disclosed in mediation (other than immediate safety issues) will never be shared with a clinician, attorney, or any other professional. I can never to be called to testify on behalf of any participants of the mediation.
I have worked with adolescents and their parents since 1997, including leading an adolescent treatment program for eight years. Mediation between parents and their teenage children is an effective problem solving process. Parent teen mediation is also a wonderful complement to individual and/or family therapy.
Please contact me if you have an out of control teenager and would like to learn more about parent teen mediation.
To learn more about mediation please click here.