Anthony became a father during high school – a situation that put him under intense pressure. He was arrested after an altercation with Brianna, his child’s mother, and his arrest left him unable to participate on the wrestling team. Without wrestling, Anthony felt high school was of little use to him. After his arrest, he was referred to mediation with his mother, Yvonne.
Yvonne and Anthony had a loving relationship. During the mediation, Yvonne expressed understanding and support of her son and understood that the decisions he had made had created challenges he was not well-prepared to cope with at his age. Anthony, a young man of few words, mostly agreed with his mother and her summary of the challenges facing him. It became clear that Anthony’s primary challenge was communicating effectively with Brianna, and satisfying Yvonne’s desire to be a part of her new grandchild’s life. Yvonne expressed that her primary need was to support Anthony in developing a clear plan for his future. For Anthony, that plan did not include graduating from high school, and would mean that he would move in with his father.
During their conversation, both Anthony and Yvonne began to share things that they had done that had impacted the other favorably. It was clear that with each of these “reveals” the other party became more aware that each had the other’s best interests and concerns at heart, but that they had not found a way to communicate with each other. Mother and son both seemed concerned that the other might react unfavorably to their actions and create a distance between them. Once they realized that they were genuinely interested in looking out for each other, it became obvious that what they needed was a communication plan that would keep the flow of information open. In addition, Yvonne was willing to undertake the task of being the intermediary in communicating with Brianna. Both felt that removing the stress of having Yvonne deal with Brianna would better enable Anthony to focus on what he needed to do to advance his plans for his future.
In the end, Anthony and Yvonne eagerly entered into a written agreement outlining a plan for weekly communication, including getting together at least once a week for a mother-son meal. In addition, they agreed that Yvonne would assume responsibility, at least in the short-term, for communicating with Brianna.