MP900443187During high conflict divorce or joint custody mediations, it can be tempting to point out how unreasonable, wrong, misguided or irrational the other parent is being.

The risk of doing so is two-fold:

One, the mediator (who in some cases may be the person who ends up making decisions about your parenting schedule if you enter arbitration) may perceive you as frantic, neurotic or hyper-critical, even if you aren’t usually any of those things in regular life.

And two, every minute you spend talking about how unreasonable the other parent is would be much better spent being spectacularly respectful and reasonable yourself. His/her unreasonableness will then reveal itself in contrast to your well-thought-out and respectfully communicated position. You won’t need to point it out.

So don’t waste precious time and energy trying to expose the other party’s flaws or issues – instead keep the spotlight on your own strengths, including compassion, generosity, acceptance/tolerance of differences, and grounded, centered communication skills.

And if you find yourself getting upset, aggressive, or defensive, ask for a bathroom break and use it to compose yourself. Call/text a friend, do some deep breathing, say a prayer — whatever brings you back to center and your heart.

Coming to the table as your best self is one of the most powerful and influential actions you can take during a mediation session.