Last week we looked at the secret sauce of mediation…the shift that the process is designed to support as parties move off of their hardened positions to identifying the things that are important to them each, their “interests.” We looked at the situation where mom’s car has some unexplained dents and the adult children don’t agree on what should be done…take away mom’s car keys are let her keep driving. The children have different concerns; one doesn’t want mom to become isolated if she gives up the car, the other doesn’t want anyone to get hurt because of mom’s driving.To start, the adult children agree that they both love mom. From there, we begin to dig a little deeper; how can we keep mom involved in her activities without endangering anyone. And is it her driving or perhaps the car needs a tune-up, or her meds need to be adjusted, or her eyeglasses need to be updated. As the conversation shifts away from black and white thinking: she should drive or she shouldn’t drive, to what the underlying concerns are, we position the family to do some problem-solving that might offer a wider array of choices than were available when they originally came to the table.

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