FLiP FACULTY APPROVED PARENTING COORDINATOR - RITA JACKSON
After graduating in law in 1985 I worked in Community legal practices and qualified as a solicitor in 1994. I began mediating in 2009 and then, in 2016 and after a lot of thought, made the decision to give up practising as a solicitor. This came about because I believe whilst the Courts have a role in enforcing rights and choosing between positions, all my experience – and I learn something new from clients every day – tells me the Courts should always be a last resort rather than a first.
A relationship breakdown affects not only a couple and their children but also taxes loyalties within the wider family, the repercussions of which can echo through the years. As parents we are our children’s first teachers and they will remember and be affected by the things we do for the rest of their lives.
In my role as a Mediator I help parents assess needs, priorities and goals, giving clients space and time to see a way of achieving a workable solution, prioritising the needs of their children and minimizing stress and distress. My practice, Minevera Mediation is about creating a safe environment where people feel comfortable enough to have their say whilst exploring mutually acceptable solutions. My decision to also train as a Parenting Coordinator seemed a logical step having seen the level of hurt and anger generated by separation and divorce, which can be only inflamed and magnified by the legal process. I feel strongly that many couples need support over an extended period of time, in order to rebuild trust, regain communication and find a way of working together as parents and there simply isn’t time enough for this in traditional mediation.
As adults we are never fully formed, but changing how we behave can be hard. For me, lasting change is achieved not through force or manipulation, but by understanding why doing things differently could be both beneficial to the people we care about and consistent with our own values. Everyone finds their own level and few of us can sustain a behavior that does not feel comfortable. I think we can best look after ourselves and support others by:
Behaving with compassion and respect,
Speaking up for our own needs and allowing others to do the same.
Neither giving nor carrying the burden of blame
Trying to be the best we can, at the same time acknowledging, understanding and learning from our own mistakes and those of others.
Keeping an open mind and accepting life is complex, if all problems had a simple solution the world would be a far easier place! Experiment and dialogue always produce more effective solutions than dogma.