Conflict Preparedness For Youth- Are We Just Hoping They Will Learn These Skills?
Sep 10th, 2015 by Families First Mediation

Teaching youth to better manage conflict are not skills that are being taught, unless there has already been a problem. We are reactive. Are these skills that we hope young people gain through life experiences and by watching us adults model them. Is hope enough? Let’s be proactive about teaching these skills instead.

I was recently on a radio show discussing Youth and Conflict and I’ve had some great feedback. It would seem that I’m not alone in thinking that if we spent any time training our youth how to communicate, engage in conflict in a positive manner and negotiate that we might just see better results.

You can listen to it here


This isn’t about placing blame. Are the schools failing our kids? Are we as parents not doing enough to help them manage through these tough years? Is anyone really listening to our youth?

This is about finding a way to fill the gap that so obviously exists. Aren’t we all curious how we ended up going from the youth that we were to the responsible adults that we are today? Do we even think about how many lessons that we learned the hard way? Shouldn’t we be thinking of ways to teach our youth based on our experiences?

I know, it looks like all I have are questions. But questions are a great place to start! The BIG question is What do our Youth think would help them navigate conflict better?

We see youth in conflict managed poorly every day…we see bullying, fights, criminal charges, suspensions, withdrawals, mental health issues and sadly suicide. Before you ask, I don’t believe that opening a dialogue about problem solving or managing conflict is going to change all of this. I do however believe that there is an opportunity to change some of this.

  • Instead of being so critical of our youth, let’s be supportive of their strengths.
  • Instead of managing everything for them, let’s be there to guide them (or catch them) when they try to problem solve on their own.
  • Instead of dictating what they will do, when they will do it and how they will do it, let’s ask them for their input.
  • Instead of talking at them, let’s try listening to them.

I was asked to talk about this topic because I faciliate a workshop for Youth called RESOLVE – Conflict Preparedness for Youth. It creates dialogue around relationships, respect, power imbalances, and boundaries while helping teach communication skills as well as Conflict management.

I was asked why I thought my approach was effective. My answer is simple. I think any approach is effective! These are not skills that are being taught. These are skills that we hope young people gain through life experiences and by watching us adults model them. Is hope enough?

I think we need to empower the Youth and give them a voice. I’m sure we will be pleasantly surprised by what we hear.

Julie Gill, QMed, CDFA

Owner of Families First Mediation

Constantly Struggling With Your Ex About Parenting Issues?
May 14th, 2013 by Families First Mediation

Whether you created a parenting plan years ago that now requires a change or you would like to put one in place to ensure more stability and routine around your parenting roles; mediation can help save you a lot of time and stress. Many families repeatedly go back to their lawyers or worse -court- when they are trying to resolve a conflict after divorce. There is nobody that knows your children better than you do.

Often trying to make the smallest of changes in the months or years after a separation result in the largest of fights. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Mediation Right For You?
Oct 30th, 2012 by Families First Mediation

As with any process, mediation is not for everyone. Some people can work out their terms without outside assistance, while others require legal and/or psychological support.

Your conflict may be family related such as divorce, parenting a teen or blending a family. It may be with your child’s teacher or sports coach. It could also be at work within a project team or with a difficult employee.

You have a dispute but you don’t know where to begin. You may want to hire a lawyer in case there is a battle, to ensure that you are not taken advantage of or just to make the other person ‘pay’. While, at the same time you want to keep your legal costs to a minimum, get a fair settlement and resolve issues efficiently in order to move on.

You may just have a communication problem and are unable to resolve it yourself.

Mediation will provide you with a cost effective and timely alternative to fighting your dispute out in court. It will provide you with a fair, safe and balanced process to create solutions.

In order for mediation to be effective the following ground rules must apply:

  • All parties must be motivated to settle the issues
  • All parties must be competent to identify their needs, interests and issues (If emotions are high you may need assistance in order to do this)
  • All parties must understand their basic rights and responsible
  • All parties must consent to mediation
  • All parties must be willing to negotiate fairly and share information

There must not be significant power imbalances; such as violence, which would make it difficult or impossible to negotiate.

Julie Gill Q.Med

Owner & Principal Mediator

Families First Mediation


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