Nariah came to CCR for a family mediation session with her grandfather, Orien.
She had been referred to CCR after she was arrested for battery. Nariah and another girl, Jada, had argued over Facebook and Nariah told Jada that when she saw her, she was going to slap her. At school the following day, Jada challenged Nariah (in front of other students) “I thought you were going to slap me…”, so Nariah slapped her.
The two girls began fighting. In the scuffle that followed, the school’s principal was knocked to the ground trying to break up the fight. As a result, the principal was badly injured and both girls were arrested.
Nariah was suspended from school and sent to mediation through a court diversion program. Although the principal did not participate, Nariah was able to have a mediation with her grandfather about the incident.
During mediation, Nariah admitted she had a problem with authority and disliked most of her teachers. Sadly, she did like the principal and felt that Dr. Connor had tried to reach out to her and help her in the past. She repeatedly said that she felt bad that as a result of her injuries, the principal had missed that year’s 8th grade graduation. Nariah said that she was generally “disrespectful” and did not like following rules. At the same time, though, she recognized that when she was disrespectful, she often missed out on doing the things she enjoyed because the teachers would punish her by making her miss participating in sports. As Nariah spoke with her grandfather and the mediator, it became clear that she craved respect from her teachers. The teachers who recognized her need for respect definitely received respect in return.
During the mediation, Nariah discussed her dreams, including being a good person, helping others, becoming a pediatrician and working with children.
Her grandfather believed that she wanted to change and at first he felt she needed more discipline. He was very concerned with the amount of time Nariah was spending on Facebook and felt that if she was challenged by other kids she would not back down. He said there was a lot of love in their home but also a lot of tension due to financial issues.
Through detailed conversation, the mediator built trust with Nariah, who shared that she felt different from everyone else because her birth father had been in jail since the day she was born and would be there for the rest of his life. Nariah had never had any contact with him. She said it made her angry all of the time. During the conversation, Nariah was able to think about about ways she might fill her time more constructively than being on Facebook, and work toward her goal of helping others. She also decided that she needed some counseling about her father. Orien said that during the mediation process, he realized that Nariah had a wall up to defend herself and that the situation with her father had “taken a big toll on her; maybe more than we realized.” He had pride in his family and felt that they could work with her to try to be more respectful and to control her temper. Orien also recognized how important it was to Nariah to be treated with respect, and why that was so important to her. He wanted her to have pride in herself and to try to stay away from Facebook. Since they both knew that it was unrealistic that a 14 year old girl would stay off Facebook, they talked a lot about strategies to deal with negativity on social media.
Orien was especially pleased with the mediation because going in, he was very anxious about what to expect. Nariah expressed that she was relieved to be able to talk bluntly about her situation without judgment. In mediation, Orien and Nariah created a plan for communication, discussed strategies for dealing with conflict online, and left with a better understanding of what was important to both of them in helping Nariah achieve a better future.