Sergio and his mother Carla came to mediation at Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR) after Sergio was arrested for battery. Sergio had been dating his friend Sam’s old girlfriend, and was upset when he learned that Sam and other friends were talking badly about him. Sergio felt that because Sam had a new girlfriend, he had no reason to be upset with Sergio.
Sergio confronted Sam on a Friday afternoon after school, and their interaction ended with Sergio shoving Sam. Sam’s parents reported the incident to the police, and when school resumed the following Monday, Sergio was called into the principal’s ofce, handcuffed, arrested, and taken to the police station. He was also suspended from school for one week. Sergio’s case was eventually referred for mediation with CCR. Sam declined to participate in the mediation and so a family mediation was held for Sergio and his mother, Carla.
Through a guided conversation, the mediator was able to find common ground between Sergio and Carla, as well as help them recognize ways to improve their relationship. Both Sergio and Carla agreed that work and school were the most important things for Sergio to concentrate on, and that fighting with classmates would only distract Sergio from his goals. It was important to Sergio to finish school, and to continue working at his part-time job that allowed him to buy clothes and save up to visit family in Mexico.
During the mediation, the mediator took a break from having Sergio and Carla together in the same room and met separately with each party. Carla teared up when she explained that she had left Sergio with his grandparents in Mexico for the first 10 years of his life - while she worked to establish herself in the United States. They did not see each once during those 10 years. Carla explained that she was concerned Sergio didn’t understand how she saw their time apart as an important sacrifice she needed to make to ensure a better opportunity for him. She was worried because Sergio has started to lie to her occasionally about his whereabouts.
When the mediator met with Sergio, they discussed the fact that Carla has many rules she expects Sergio to follow regarding work and school. The day before the mediation Carla found out that Sergio took a trip to a water park in Wisconsin and told her that he was working. She had been furious. Sergio explained that he wants to follow his mother’s rules, but he would also like to have some more independence to spend time with his friends. Sergio said he was proud to be an important role model for his younger brothers and that he plans to have a conversation with them about what they can learn from his experience of being arrested. He felt he had learned from his mistake, and that he wanted to have a conversation with his mom about what he could do to earn more independence.
Through mediation, Sergio and Carla were able to have a conversation about tough topics in a safe, neutral space, and develop solutions that worked for them. When the mediator brought Sergio and Carla back together, they talked about setting up regular time on Saturdays for just the two of them to spend time with each other. Carla expressed that building a close relationship with Sergio was important to her, and she was able to tell him that she understood that their time apart was very hard for him, and that she felt it was necessary to give him richer opportunities. Having this conversation allowed Sergio to express that he appreciated the sacrifice that Carla made, and that it was also important to him to continue his close ties with his grandparents in Mexico. Sergio asked for Carla’s support in making regular visits, and she agreed. There was conversation about Sergio taking pictures of his grandmother’s Mexican cooking and returning with some of her recipes. They also discussed Sergio’s desire to have more independence to spend time with his friends. Carla agreed to give permission for Sergio to spend time with his friends, as long as he updates her with his whereabouts via text so she will not worry. They both agreed that they would continue to work to improve their communication and trust, and were happy to have a plan to move them forward.