Photo by Aiden Fullwood
Family Forum helps form better relationships
October 17, 2019
In collaboration with the San Dieguito Academy Bridge Committee, Veronica Mikho, mediator and trainer at the National Conflict Resolution Center, gave a seminar at the Mosaic Cafe on Oct. 16 about conflict resolution skills for families with a focus of parent-teenager relationships.
NCRC is a local nonprofit organization that began as a conflict mediation services provider and gradually expanded to also offer services like training and capacity building.
“Our goal as an organization is to empower communities and individuals to manage conflict in a way that is respectful, in a way that people feel that they’ve been treated with dignity and respect,” Mikho said.
Parents and their children were provided with a card listing ten tips for managing conflict when they walked in, primarily focused on acknowledgement and understanding of the other person’s feelings.
“In conflict resolution, listening is key,” Mikho said. “If you don’t have the ability to listen for understanding, not just to hear what the person said, but to really understand where this person is coming from, there’s no way you’re gonna be able to purge whatever the conflict is.”
Aside from listening skills, Mikho said the most important tip is to identify and address the underlying unmet need causing the conflict.
Mikho compared conflict to an iceberg, labelling the tip of the iceberg as the initial complaint of an argument and the underlying need as the rest of the iceberg, hidden underwater out of plain view until it is actively searched for.
“It’s not just that you’re not listening. It’s not that you’re just annoying. It’s not just that you’re not doing what I told you. There’s something underneath there that the person is not receiving,” Mikho said.
Afterwards Mihko encouraged the guests to discuss with each other what they need from their children and partners and vice versa in order to form healthier relationships. Answers ranged from “kindness” to “trust” and even “eye-contact.”
“I am not the only conflict resolution specialist by far,” Mikho said. “I think we all are in some way. We all have life experiences, we have education, we’ve gone through so much in our short or long time on this earth that we’ve gathered the skills.”