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"We don't need counseling. We need a plan to help us get along."

"I've tried to talk with him about it. We just end up shouting at each other."

"I'm not a bad parent - am I? Why do they have to argue with me all the time?!"

If you've had thoughts like these concerning your kids, Parent-Youth mediation may be the answer.

Parent-youth mediation is a formal negotiation process that helps parents and youth sort through the problems, find the issues, talk about what's really important, and come up with a set of agreements that EVERYONE can accept.

In our mediation sessions, each person has the chance to tell what's important to them and to search for a fair and workable solution. The mediator assists in keeping communication positive and clear, and keeping each person focused on the issues.

Rather than looking at past blame or guilt, mediation asks those in conflict to focus on the present and the future. The aim is to find a workable solution.

  • Kids like the fact that mediation gives them a chance ot be heard about what they really feel without their parents treating them like children.
  • Parents like mediating because they don't have to be the "bad guy" or a bully. They can reason with their kids and expect to be actually heard.

Agreements that are made in mediation may be written and each person will receive a copy.

What could you mediate?

Parents and youth often disagree about important matters in the home and at school. Conflicts can happen regarding:

Home issues:

* house rules * chores * curfew

* car use * friendships * siblings

* dating * sexual activity * fairness

* room/personal space * health care

* step- or biological parents and children

* running away * juvenile justice issues

School issues:

* home work * grades* attendance

* student-student or student-group problems

* student-teacher or student-administration issues


Who is the mediator?

Bob Collins is a State Certified Domestic Mediator. He has completed mediation training of more than 40 hours, and additional training to work with families in conflict, as well as hundreds of hours helping families work out solutions to their problems. He is a stepdad, and founder of the international organization, STEP-Carefully! for Stepparents!, and a licensed minister to stepfamilies.

What can we expect in parent-youth mediation?

Initial Meeting: The mediator will explain the process, help you develop ground rules for the meetings, answer your questions, and ask each of you to describe the areas of conflict. This meeting provides you with an opportunity to decide whether mediation is appropriate for your situation. If you decide you want to proceed with mediation, the first mediation session will be scheduled.

Mediation Sessions: The mediator will help you hear each other out, explore underlying conflicts to the dispute, and guide you to find solutions to the issues you raised in the initial meeting. He will lead you through negotiation and rational discussions. When you reach agreements, the mediator will help you put those agreements in writing.

The initial meeting and the mediation sessions are scheduled for approximately 1 hour at a time. This allows time to develop single issues without getting bogged down in long meetings. Often, homework will be assigned to prepare for the next session. The number of sessions depends upon the number of issues you need to resolve; however, there are generally no more than 5 to 8 sessions.

It is important, though, that you understand that even in mediations where the goal is healing a damaged relationship, this process is NOT counseling, psychology, therapy, or a substitute for those services. Psychological counseling or therapy seeks to correct problems in individuals and couples so they may rebuild their entire lives. Mediation simply helps disputing parties resolve conflicts in solutions that are acceptable to both sides. Big difference!

If you prefer, call us at (479)522-7490. or email us.

Before your family resorts to:


Running Away

Ignoring the Conflict

Dead Communication

Courts and Attorneys




A program for teenagers and their families

Bob Collins, 479-522-7490, FamilyMediator; Fort Smith, AR 72917 - NWA Western Arkansas Eastern Oklahoma