SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIVORCE – You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know!
Jan 19th, 2015 by Families First Mediation

Have you been divorced before?

If not, you probably don’t know where to start or what to do!

That is not uncommon.

Divorce - You Don't Know What You Don't Know

Divorce – You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

I was sitting in the hospital today with my daughter trying to get her care. She was in a car accident a couple of weeks ago and is still struggling. Today the emergency doctor asked what has been happening since the accident and wanted to know why we were there. Although I knew what had led up to our hospital visit, the honest answer I gave him was “I just don’t know what to do”. That’s when it hit me. I sound just like my clients!!!! I just wanted help.

Does this sound familiar?

  • I don’t want to make a bad decision now that will cause harm in the future.
  • I don’t know what my next step should be.
  • I don’t know what professionals I need and how to get in touch with them.
  • I don’t want to miss anything.

Sounds like everyone going through a separation and/or divorce!

As confident as I am as a mediator that I can walk people through the process, their options and connect them with the right professionals – they don’t know me. I am asking them to put a lot of trust in me. Little old me.

Then I think about, how scary it is to be in a position that you never expected, you never planned and you have no idea how to manage.  Add to that the emotional turmoil, frustration and things not moving at the speed you would like and what do you have?  FEAR, plain and simple.

Only you can decide what is right for you. When I started typing “only you” all I could think about was “Only you can stop forest fires” haha, sorry back to the point. Gathering information, making sure that you are comfortable with the information you are being given and that you only act on the information that you feel is right is what will help alleviate that fear.

I think that those of use in the divorce industry need to get much better at helping people manage that fear. With information, with empathy and with empowerment.

We help people through a huge life transition and we have the power to make it a little easier and a little better. I really want to say A LOT better and A LOT easier but sometimes that is just wishful thinking no matter how could I am at my work.

Although you may not know what you DON’T know. You do know what you DO know and what you feel.

  • Question everything.
  • Only make informed decisions.
  • Do what you feel is right in your gut or your heart; whichever one you trust more.

Just make sure you are comfortable with the information that you have gathered, that you make the best decisions based on your situation and that you can move on without feeling that you missed something.

All I can do with my daughter is my best. All you can do through your separation is your best. And YES your best is good enough.

Julie Gill

Mediator and Owner

Families First Mediation

Durham Region, Ontario

Paying for health care is the biggest worry for aging Canadians – Is your family talking about this?
Oct 21st, 2014 by Families First Mediation

There was a recent article by The Canadian Press that stated  “Working longer may not be possible after serious health events and that paying for health care in old age is Canadians biggest worry.”  

The article (read it here) identifies that 47% said they worried about needing more long-term care than they have the money for, while 45 % said they fret over whether they’ll outlive their savings.

If these are the concerns, how do you manage them? For starters, how do you even talk about them with your family?

Should your wife/husband and/or children be aware of what your long-term care wishes are? Should they know how much you have available and what you would like if your savings are not sufficient?  Read the rest of this entry »

What Is Elder Care (Caregiver) Mediation?
Oct 15th, 2014 by Families First Mediation

Elder Care Mediation – As our population ages, families are facing many challenges as their living requirements change and age related issues become a normal part of their everyday lives.

Perhaps it is your transition or you’re a family member that’s experiencing these issues as you assist in the role as caregiver to a senior family member. Either way, this blog may help you.

eldercare mediationFamilies are often in conflict with decisions concerning the care of elder family member. 

It is important for everyone involved to have a voice in the decision making, to have open discussions about some sensitive topics and too generally bridge the gap between adult children and their senior loved ones as well as the gap between siblings. Family mediation is a terrific way to bridge these gaps.

In elder care mediation, the family members, including the elder family member, choose who should be involved in the discussions and the issues to be addressed. The elder care mediation process provides a safe and respectful place to have a conversation where important information can be gathered, ideas shared and plans agreed to.

The advantages of Elder Care mediation are:

  • Elder family member can be involved as much as possible in the decisions
  • Finances and tasks can be divided up
  • Families can develop a plan that is customized for their individual needs

The primary topics of discussion are the care of an elder family member are Quality of Life, Housing, Financial Decisions and working through Family conflict.

Moving

Perhaps you are downsizing, moving in with your children or relocating to a retirement community. There are many financial and emotional decisions to be made during this time. At this time the senior parent can lose their voice in the process as adult children begin to take decisions away. Often adult children will have a high level of conflict during the decision making period.

Support and Personal Care agreements

When a child takes on responsibility for a parent it may cause hardship both financially and emotionally, require a significant time commitment or increased costs for the child. In many instances siblings have difficulty with these decisions and any compensation that a parent wants to provide to the child that has become the caregiver.

The reality is that there needs to be a division of duties, decisions about bringing in outside professionals, relief for caregivers and agreement on the level of care needed.

Estate Planning

There are many financial and legal affairs that will need to be taken care of. You may need to modify a will, create Powers of Attorney or simply rebalance your household budget based on your new requirements.

It is a very emotional and stressful time for many families and sometimes there is a sense of urgency. Keeping all families on the same page will ensure a smooth transition and less conflict.

As a mediator my role is to help your family be future focused and address the needs of all family members.

Julie Gill, Q.Med, CDFA

Families First Mediation

Parenting Plans & Teens…How To Handle Changes
Oct 7th, 2014 by Families First Mediation

You have been divorced for 6 years. Your parenting plan did an excellent job of identifying when each of you would be the “active” parent and spend time with your kids. It set out how you were going to parent, how you would handle holidays, expenses and how you as parents would make changes to the plan.

parenting teen

 

Surprise, surprise, your 15 year old has decided that your parenting plan no longer works for him/her. Did you discuss during your separation how you would handle changes that were initiated by your children?

Read the rest of this entry »

Divorce: The Best Interests Of The Children…Or The Parents?
Sep 29th, 2014 by Families First Mediation

We hear it all of the time in the Divorce Industry – decisions should be made in the ‘Best interests of the Children”. Seems rather obvious right?

note-from-amy

 

You and the other parent may have different opinions of what decisions are in your children’s best interest. You don’t agree and that’s ok. You were always going to disagree on some aspects of parenting even if you had stayed together.

You can both be looking out for your children’s best interests but believe that can be obtained in different ways. That doesn’t make either of your right or wrong, it’s just life.

Separation is change and how you manage it will dictate how successfully your children will get through it. Read the rest of this entry »

Can DIVORCE And FAIR Be Used In the Same Sentence?
Aug 22nd, 2014 by Families First Mediation

As a mediator and separation coach I hear this statement all of the time “this isn’t fair”.

As a person who went through a nasty divorce I myself thought many times “this isn’t fair”.

What is fair though? Fair to whom? Fairness is subjective and we each have our own idea of fairness. What I think is fair to me, may not what you think is fair.

Life is not fair

 

 

 

  I read this quote today and I thought it was very appropriate for this blog post,

“Fairness is protecting not only you but all who are involved.”

  Well that is a tall order!

  Protect yourself – Yup, got it.

  Protect your kids – No problem there.

  Protect your ex – Wait, what? No thank you.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Divorce – Should I Keep The House? Emotion vs. Logic
Jul 31st, 2014 by Families First Mediation

Divorce and keeping the house, an important factor in any divorce settlement.

You are getting separated, it doesn’t matter whether you are married or common-law, 30 or 55, things are about to change.

1 large piece of that change puzzle is the house. It’s the place where you shared your hopes and dreams and spent a great deal of time and money. You intended to raise your children there or did raise your children there. Let’s not forget that other than the pension it is usually one of a family’s greatest assets. What to do with the house is a big decision that you and your ex will need to make.

Divorce and keeping house

 

 Should you keep it? It was your dream house after all and you didn’t kill this  dream!

 Maybe your ex should keep it? That way they will figure out how much  time and money goes into maintaining it!

 Sell the house? I can’t afford to keep it and if I can’t have it, neither can my  ex!

Read the rest of this entry »

Difficult Conversations – Getting The Death You Want
May 26th, 2014 by Families First Mediation

Mediation and having difficult conversations about death are probably not things that you think belong together, but they do.

Have you told your loved ones what your end of life decisions are? As a society it’s something that we don’t like to talk about.

I don’t know if it’s because I am completing my certification in Elder Mediation or because aging is a popular topic right now but it seems that there are very good attempts at creating awareness and starting conversations about this in the media. Not the negative stories that everyone hears about but some positive and honest discussions about the issues.

The Toronto Star is running a week long series aimed at doing just that. Today’s article is about Getting The Death You Want. Sounds ominous doesn’t it? They quote the following statistic “only 45 per cent of Canadians have talked about their end-of-life wishes.” Why aren’t all families having this conversation? It is 100% going to happen to each of us.

Yes it’s true as the article points out that the 3 main reasons people don’t talk about their wishes for their death are 1) Fear of death 2) Not wanting to upset family and 3) it’s just plain uncomfortable. What the article doesn’t mention are solutions. It’s a great starting point but how does this article translate into action? People understand why they aren’t having these discussions, how can we help them to have them? Elder Mediation is how. Elder Mediators are trained to help ensure that the focus is on the person in need while allowing all family members/friends/caregivers(anyone that the person would like to participate) to have a voice, get informed and help make decisions.

The Elder Mediation process makes the discussion a little more neutral. We help facilitate the conversation and take some of the burden of having the conversation away from the family.

These conversations do need to happen, why not get a little help?

Julie Gill Q.Med, CDFA

Families First Mediation

Owner and Principal Mediator

 

By:  Health Reporter, Published on Mon May 26 2014

Toronto Star Read the full article here

 

 

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa