- Se'Lena Wingfield, Ph.D.
How Trauma-Informed Mediation Helps Co-Parents Communicate and Resolves Conflict for Better Outcomes
Co-parenting after a separation or divorce can be a challenging and stressful experience, especially when there is unresolved conflict between the parents. When children are involved, co-parents are required to communicate and work together effectively to ensure the well-being of their children. However, in situations where one or both parents have experienced trauma, co-parenting conversations can become even more difficult. This is where trauma-informed mediation can play a crucial role in helping co-parents navigate difficult conversations and conflict, leading to better outcomes. In this blog post, we will explore what trauma-informed mediation is, how it works, and the benefits it provides for co-parents.
Trauma-informed mediation is an approach to mediation that recognizes the impact of trauma on individuals and focuses on creating a safe and supportive environment for participants. According to Lee and Stewart (2020), trauma-informed mediation incorporates the principles of safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration, and empowerment. These principles are designed to ensure that participants feel respected, heard, and validated during the mediation process.
In the context of co-parenting, trauma-informed mediation can help parents who have experienced trauma to communicate effectively with their co-parents. Trauma-informed mediators are trained to understand the impact of trauma on individuals and the challenges it presents in communication and conflict resolution. By incorporating trauma-informed techniques, mediators can help co-parents navigate difficult conversations and conflict in a safe and supportive environment.
One of the primary benefits of trauma-informed mediation for co-parents is that it can help to reduce the impact of trauma on children. Research has shown that parental conflict and stress can have negative effects on children's emotional and behavioral development (Teubert & Pinquart, 2010). By facilitating effective communication between co-parents, trauma-informed mediation can help to reduce parental conflict, improve co-parenting relationships, and create a more positive co-parenting environment for children.
Trauma-informed mediation can also help co-parents to resolve disputes more effectively. In traditional mediation, the focus is on finding a solution that is acceptable to both parties. However, in trauma-informed mediation, the focus is on understanding the underlying causes of the conflict and addressing them in a way that supports the well-being of all parties involved. This approach can lead to more long-lasting and sustainable outcomes for co-parents and their children.
In conclusion, trauma-informed mediation can play a critical role in helping co-parents navigate difficult conversations and conflict. By creating a safe and supportive environment for participants, trauma-informed mediation can help co-parents communicate more effectively, reduce parental conflict, and create a more positive co-parenting environment for children. As co-parenting becomes more common, the use of trauma-informed mediation will likely become more prevalent, as more parents seek out effective ways to co-parent after a separation or divorce.
Lee, H., & Stewart, C. (2020). Trauma-informed mediation: Enhancing safety and trust in family mediation. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 37(2), 123-138.
Teubert, D., & Pinquart, M. (2010). The association between coparenting and child adjustment: A meta-analysis. Parenting, 10(4), 286-307.