Christmas: A time for resolving family issues?

By Andrew Baines, Solicitor & Family Mediator

Whilst Christmas is commonly seen as a wonderful time for families, it can be a very difficult time for those who are experiencing a breakdown in their relationships. It can also be a very frustrating time, when there seems to be little, if any, progress happening. This blog shows that it may be that matters are progressing, even if it does not seem so on the surface.

We are fortunate that there has been a considerable amount of research which shows that in many problem areas, positive change occurs without formal intervention. Many, if not most family disputes are resolved without the intervention of dispute resolution professionals – there is a spontaneous resolution. The stages and processes people go through to reach resolution seem to be the same with or without professional intervention. In this sense, therefore, mediation can be thought of as facilitating what is a naturally occurring process.

So what does this have to do with Christmas?

Let’s for a moment look below the superficial aspects of Christmas and instead look at its core message for everyone. We know that the key message talks of empathy for those around us, non-possessive warmth and genuineness. Looking to the research, we see that these are the same three critical conditions for making progress in bringing about change.

One final piece of research puts the jigsaw together. People who were simply waiting for professional intervention made no progress – the implicit message was that whist they were waiting, progress was not possible. However, for those who were waiting but had received a message that progress was possible, they actually made progress whilst waiting for their professional intervention.

So for those people who, unfortunately, are in difficult times in their family breakdown over Christmas, an appreciation of the message of Christmas and an understanding that progress can happen, will help them make progress in resolving their disputes, even if they don’t realise it is happening.

For more information about Family Mediation services provided by Switalskis, contact Andrew Baines on 0800 138 0458.