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Our Home or Yours
Dec 4th, 2016 by Families First Mediation

 Our Home or Yours – Family Mediation in our home (office) or your home, now available in the Durham Region!

Link to Press Release HERE

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Families First Mediation continues to look for ways to make mediation more accessible to the Durham Region Community. I don’t want mediation to remain the best kept secret!

Since 2009 when I opened my mediation practice here in Whitby I have added to my services to support the needs of both families and the community.

I have found that more and more families are looking for solutions to better and more conveniently help them with their Elder Care issues, Blended Family Conflict, Marriage communication troubles as well as divorce.

In addition to the most familiar Separation and Divorce mediation, I provide Separation Coaching and Financial Support, Blended Family mediation, Parent-Teen mediation, Marriage mediation, Family Business mediation and of course with my upcoming new designation – Elder Care mediation.

While I treat my office as my home-away-from-home and believe that it has a very homey feel, it’s just not the right option for some families. For those families I will now be available to meet in their home.

Maybe it’s babysitting that’s hard to put in place, maybe you don’t do stairs, maybe you are physically unable to leave your home, maybe there are too many people to meet in my office or maybe you would just feel more comfortable in your own home. The reasons are many and they are as unique as you are. Whatever your reason I am happy to visit with you in your home if you feel that’s it’s a better fit.

This initiative is one of a kind and available to families in the Durham Region.

I’m so excited to provide this new offering and help make mediation the norm vs. the best kept secret. Please help me share my new Our Home Or Yours Initiative!

Julie Gill Q.Med, CDFA

Owner and Principal Mediator

Families First Mediation

Press Release December 5, 2016

9 Tips To Bonding In A Blended Family
Jun 15th, 2015 by Families First Mediation

Think it’s tough to bond in a blended family? You’re right it can be, but there are ways to make it easier.

Due to the sheer number of divorced families it stands to reason that many couples entering into new relationships both already have children. When these families come together there are many changes that need to be considered and planned for.

Ashley and Jeff have been dating for 6 months and are talking about moving in together. Like many other couples now a days they are both divorced and have children from those marriages.

They are excited to have found each other and want to share their lives together. The children have met on quite a few occasions and seem to get along well. Ashley and Jeff really want this new relationship to work and talk at length about how best to manage it. They refer to the Brady Brunch regularly hoping that their new family will unite just like that one.

Much like their divorces, this is a transition forced on the children due to the parents needs. Ashley and Jeff know that they need to be focused on the best interests of their children during this time. They have decided to create a parenting plan to help them have conversations, make decisions and guide them through what they hope will be a successful transition into a blended family. Ashley and Jeff think that it may be a good idea to share some of their plan with their ex-partners to ensure they have a comfort level around the new people in their children’s lives. Ashley and Jeff feel that their children are old enough to have a voice and be part of the process. They are choosing to create the parenting plan through a series of family meetings. Some sections will be decided solely by Ashley and Jeff as the parents and adults, other sections will be created using feedback from the children.

Here are some tips that Ashley and Jeff are following to ensure that their transition is successful. They can work for you too!

  • Resolve your divorce first – How you manage your divorce can play a significant role in the success of future relationships. Bringing unresolved issues and emotions into a new relationship will certainly create challenges.
  • Create a parenting plan – Discuss and agree to such topics as discipline, rules, behaviour, parenting/step parenting roles. Rules should be consistent in the house and expectations as well as consequences should be clear.
  • Be respectful of the natural parents – There are roles for parents and step parents. Children will feel safe if the transition from home to home is smooth and if the parents and step parents are respectful of the other’s relationship with their children.
  • Continue the strong relationship with your own children – As you work hard to build a relationship with your step children it is often easy to take the relationship with your own children for granted. You will need to pay equal attention to your own children so that they don’t feel displaced during the transition.
  • Talk to the children – Don’t spring it on them; let them know of your intentions early on. Make sure they have a voice and that you are responsive to their concerns. Help your partner do the same.
  • Remember each child is unique – Children will adjust in their own way in their own time. Children need to develop relationships on their own…not be ‘forced’ into them.
  • Line up parenting schedules if and when you can – In order for the kids to bond they need to spend time together developing as a family. Special occasions and holidays will want to be spent together when they have bonded.
  • Quality Time – Ensure each parent spends time with their own children, with their step-children and also equally as important with each other to continue to develop and strengthen their relationship.
  • Get professional support if required – The help of counsellors or mediators may make your transition smoother.

Remember, your children want to see you happy and in a healthy relationship. You in turn want to show your children what a healthy relationship looks like. It will take some time and effort but it will pay off if you plan this transition and see it through.

Enjoy the chaos. It won’t last forever.

Julie Gill Q.Med, CDFA

Owner, Families First Mediation

 

Family Mediation on the Radio – Why Would I Need A Mediator?
Feb 15th, 2015 by Families First Mediation

On December 28th 2014 I was pleased to be a guest on the radio program Mediation Station. Our topic was “Why Would I Need A Mediator?”

Mediation resolving conflict

So, I regularly have people say to me “Oh I am happily married, I would never need your services” or “if I take your card or friend you on Facebook someone will think I need your services”.

To these people I have a few questions…

“What if a family member was divorcing, would you rather see them in court losing their savings or privately sorting out their differences?” (Divorce Mediation)

“What if you are struggling with your siblings over selling your dad’s house during the process of moving him into a care facility?” (Elder Mediation)

“What if your son/daughter is in a new relationship with a partner who also has children and they are planning on moving in together? How will your grandchildren will be cared for?” (Family or Blended Family Mediation)

For all of the above situations a Family mediator could be amazingly helpful in creating transition plans and bridging the gaps in communication.

Life is about relationships, making connections, happiness…yes? I have devoted my practice to helping families transition their relationships during a time of stress. It is a very balanced and fair process that lets you stay in control. Staying focused on what really matters and helping you to move forward. What could be more positive than that?

Mediation is part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Having the knowledge that mediation exists may help you, a family member, friend or client in the future. Mediation really is your choice for POSITIVE change.

Listen now…

 

Julie Gill

Qualified Mediator & Certified Divorce Financial Analyst

Families First Mediation

905.427.0100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Is Mediation The Best Kept Secret?
Mar 3rd, 2014 by Families First Mediation

As a Mediator my role is to help people communicate through conflict, to find resolutions to problems and to actively participate in decisions.

Mediation is a fair, safe and balanced process that ensures everyone has a voice. It’s less costly than the legal process and much more efficient in most cases.

Yet I still wonder daily why mediation is not as common place as counselling or lawyers? People in conflict tend to call a counsellor (to deal with the emotional side) or a lawyer (to deal with the legal side). A mediator helps deals with the practical side of conflict which is often where the biggest problems occur. Read the rest of this entry »

Helping Talk About Senior Care
Nov 6th, 2013 by Families First Mediation

I taped my weekly show, We Need To Talk on Rogers TV Durham last week about Senior Care. Now I’ve been in the position to care for both my children and my parents at the same time – it’s tough.  I have been stuck in the middle and felt totally alone.

As I continue my training on Mediation with Age Related issues and build out that side of my practice I encounter more and more people like myself. Caregivers that just need someone to help them rally the family around decision making.

It’s difficult to know just what to do and say.

How do you find the right support for your aging parent?

How do you start the conversation with your family?

How do you manage responsibilities and finances?

Honestly, I can’t tell you just how positive the role of a Family Mediator can be in these situations. Having someone from the outside to help facilitate discussions and make sure everyone in the family has a voice can go a long way to helping you feel less alone and get the support that is needed for your loved one.

Here is the blog post with information about the show We Need To Talk About…Senior Care.

Julie Gill

Owner & Principal Mediator

Families First Mediation

 

5 Way Meetings – A Successful Solution
Aug 26th, 2013 by Families First Mediation

It may not be a popular stance but it is one that I whole-heartedly support. Lawyers participating  in Family mediation meetings with their clients.

5 way mediation Read the rest of this entry »

Changes To The Family Law Process In Ontario Are Still Needed
Mar 5th, 2013 by Families First Mediation

Here’s a letter that I wrote back in 2010 to a person that wanted support from someone in the “divorce industry’ to help them with their battle to change the Family Law Process. I had the added (dis)advantage of having also personally gone through it. I just found it and had a quick read. I still feel strongly that lawyers and mediators should work together more to benefit our clients. I have however softened a little as I have met some wonderful lawyers that ARE client focused. Have a read and let me know what you think. I’d love the feedback.

I’m writing this letter in support of your efforts to bring awareness to the changes so desperately needed in the current family law process. Read the rest of this entry »

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