Aaron’s Story


After not speaking to each other for nine months and living separately, Aaron and his mum had built up a lot of resentment and hurt towards each other. However, it’s never too late to rekindle a relationship, and when mum contacted hyh and was referred to Mediation, it was the first step to achieving this.



Building rapport
In the first Mediation session, 16-year-old Aaron and mum were both visibly nervous. There were a lot of things that needed to be said, and rapport needed to be built again from the ground up. Our Mediator gave both of them ‘I feel…’ sentence starters to complete. Mum said ‘I feel upset when I am lied to’. Aaron responded by saying ‘I don’t understand why small things annoy you’. Recognising this, mum divulged that she was juggling a lot of things at once. Our Mediator explained the ‘mentos analogy’. Everyone has a certain amount of ‘mentos’ mints you can drop into a coke bottle before it explodes, one thing can push you over your limit.
Aaron empathized with mum, but this session didn’t end with an agreement, as he explained that his mum’s outbursts really affect him, whereas from mum’s perspective, they are over and done with relatively quickly and she didn’t feel she was being nasty. 
Argument styles 


In the second session, tensions were high and Aaron and his mum were feeling frustrated. Our Mediator introduced them to the ‘Argument Styles’ and asked them to identify the characteristics of the animals and what they think each other are. They both agreed they can be similar, angry like ‘sharks’ at times, but also often not wanting to argue, like ‘turtles’. They discussed how they could be more ‘owl-like’, by discussing things amicably and setting some boundaries. 
Seeing improvements 


As the sessions progressed, Aaron shared that he now felt comfortable to start contact up again and chat together in the week. Our Mediator explained how ‘distance creates distortion’, and how the long time apart lead to distorted views of one another, and less opportunity to be reminded of each other’s good traits. Both were starting to feel heard by the other person. They had begun using a new method when in conflict, which involved only speaking one at a time when holding an item, discussing one issue at a time, and with a time limit. They both felt this kept conflict to a minimum. Our Mediator also helped them to identify their triggers; any things that may crop up in the future that had previously been conflict starters for them, and make agreements for each one.
Looking forward


Aaron and his mum’s body language started to noticeably improve, and they began to direct their speech more towards each other, rather than towards our Mediator. The two of them explained their desires to spend more time together and discussed the practical arrangements of that, and Aaron even expressed how he wanted to move back in with mum at some point. Their relationship and communication skills have greatly improved over the six weeks of mediation, setting them up for a stronger relationship going forward.




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