Building Bridges: How School-Based Mediation Strengthened a Mother-Child Relationship

This blog highlights the role of school-based mediation in resolving the communication breakdown between the mother and child and how it was recommended by the child’s school.

Before you exit, be sure to check out the action plans mentioned at the end of this blog. These plans offer valuable insights and guidance for schools, mediation institutes, and parents alike. By reading through them, you can start making positive changes to improve your relationships and interactions, while keeping them amicable. So take a moment to explore these plans and see how they can benefit.

A Case Example: Mother, Child, and the School

A mother went on talking, presuming that her child “HAD” to listen. As a result, there were only sentences and statements, and no questions. Eventually, the child felt deprived of the opportunity to be asked or heard.

The child’s listening capacity decreased to the point where they only pretended to listen, which ultimately resulted in the mother’s words being unheard. The mother’s constant presumption that her child would listen to her without offering any opportunity for the child to speak resulted in the child feeling unheard and unimportant.

However, the situation was not irreparable as the mother realized the importance of repairing their bond. She recognized that she needed to change her approach and sought help from the child’s school teacher to better communicate with her child.

In this case, the child’s school teacher confirmed the communication breakdown and the impact it was having on the child’s well-being and academic performance, and suggested the use of a mediator to help facilitate a resolution between the child and mother.

At this moment, two points of reflection are:

Firstly, by taking the step to reach out and seek assistance from a mediator, the mother demonstrated a willingness to listen to her child’s needs and work towards repairing their relationship.

Secondly, by acknowledging her mistake and taking steps to repair the relationship, the mother was able to restore the lines of communication with her child and foster a healthier and more productive relationship.

It is important to note that the onus of taking the first step towards resolving the situation lies with the adult, in this case, the mother, and the child may be a secondary participant, silent and ignorant in their behavior to take active steps to resolve the issue.

But HOW?

How did a Mediator Help Overcome Communication Breakdown Between Parent and Child

During the Mediation

From the situation described above, during the mediation, the mediator highlighted several key discussions:

  1. Communication is a two-way process: The mother’s failure to ask questions and engage her child in conversation meant that communication became one-sided, and the child felt unheard and unimportant.
  2. Listening is a crucial part of communication: The child’s decreasing capacity to listen shows that listening is an important skill that needs to be developed and nurtured in children.
  3. Assuming can be detrimental to relationships: The mother’s assumption that her child “had” to listen may have led to her neglecting the child’s need to be heard and to have a say in the conversation.
  4. Good communication requires effort: Engaging in good communication requires effort, and it involves not only speaking but also actively listening and asking questions to understand the other person’s perspective.
  5. Ignoring someone can lead to communication breakdown: The breakdown in communication between the mother and child, where the child ultimately stopped hearing anything the mother said, shows that ignoring someone can lead to a complete breakdown in communication.

What was Child’s reaction after the mediation?

The child described feeling relieved and happy that their mother was finally listening to them. They also mentioned:

  1. Feeling heard and understood: The child described feeling relieved and happy that their mother was finally listening to them. They felt that their thoughts and feelings were being acknowledged, and this made them feel valued and heard. As a result, the child became more willing to engage in conversation and share their experiences.
  2. Increased confidence in communication: After the school-based mediation, the child felt more confident in expressing their thoughts and feelings. They knew that their mother was willing to listen, and this gave them the confidence to speak up and share their perspective. This newfound confidence in communication allowed the child to engage in conversations with others more openly and honestly.
  3. Understanding the importance of active listening: Through the mediation process, the child learned that active listening is a crucial component of effective communication. They realized that by actively listening and asking questions, they could gain a better understanding of others’ perspectives and build stronger relationships. This newfound understanding of the importance of active listening allowed the child to engage in conversations more thoughtfully and intentionally.
  4. Practicing good communication skills: The school-based mediation helped the child learn and practice good communication skills. They learned how to express themselves effectively and how to actively listen to others. These skills not only improved their relationship with their mother but also helped them build better relationships with their peers and teachers.
  5. Avoiding communication breakdowns in the future: Finally, the child expressed a desire to continue practicing good communication skills with their mother to avoid similar communication breakdowns in the future. By actively listening and engaging in conversations, the child hoped to build a stronger and more positive relationship with their mother.

In response, the Mother described feeling:

  1. Understood: The mother felt that the mediator helped her understand her child’s perspective better and recognize the impact of her communication style on their relationship.
  2. Empowered: The mother felt empowered to make changes in her communication style and be more open to listening to her child’s perspective, asking questions instead of delivering sentences and statements.
  3. Relieved: The mother felt relieved that there was a safe and structured way for her to address the communication breakdown with her child and that they were able to find a way forward together with the help of the mediator.

Hiring a Mediator for School-based Mediation: The Process Explained

In most cases, mediators can be hired through mediation services or organizations/ institutions that offer mediation services. Some schools may have their own mediation programs or may have a list of mediators that they work with.

To hire a mediator in this situation, the school can provide the mother with a list of mediators or mediation services in the area. The mother can then contact the mediators or mediation services to discuss the situation and schedule a mediation session.

Alternatively, the school may be able to arrange for a mediator to work directly with the mother and child, either by providing a mediator from their own staff or by arranging for an external mediator to come to the school.

External mediator is often preferred, as it avoids potential conflicts of interest with school staff and ensures a truly neutral party.

It’s important to note that the mediator should be a neutral third party who does not have any personal or professional connections with either the mother or the school. The mediator should also be trained and experienced in mediation techniques and should have a good understanding of the specific issues involved in the situation, such as communication breakdown and parent-child relationships.

To Conclude

A mediator can play a vital role in helping the mother and child overcome the breakdown in communication described in the above situation. Here are some ways a mediator can add on to the above situation and learnings:

  1. Encourage active listening: The mediator can encourage the mother to actively listen to her child’s perspective and to ask open-ended questions that invite conversation.
  2. Teach communication skills: The mediator can teach the mother and child communication skills, such as how to express oneself effectively and how to actively listen to others.
  3. Create a safe space: The mediator can create a safe and non-judgmental space where both the mother and child feel comfortable expressing themselves and sharing their thoughts and feelings.
  4. Facilitate mutual understanding: The mediator can facilitate a process of mutual understanding, where both the mother and child have the opportunity to express their perspective and to understand each other’s perspective.
  5. Promote empathy: The mediator can encourage both the mother and child to practice empathy towards each other, by putting themselves in each other’s shoes and trying to understand the other’s feelings and needs.

By applying these techniques, the mother and child could overcome their communication breakdown and improve their relationship. Through mediation, the child can develop their listening skills, while the mother can learn to ask questions and engage in a more balanced conversation. Ultimately, mediation can help rebuild trust, respect, and understanding, creating a foundation for healthier communication in the future.

The power of active listening and effective communication cannot be underestimated.


  • If you are a child or mother facing similar communication breakdowns or conflicts, you are encouraged you to seek help and support from your child’s school or a trained mediator.
  • If you are a school, it is encouraged you to implement school-based mediation and appoint external mediators to help improve communication and resolve conflicts among students and their families.
  • If you are a mediation institute, it is encouraged that you promote school-based mediation and provide trained mediators to help schools and families improve their communication and resolve conflicts in a peaceful and respectful manner.

It is worth to remember, good communication is a key element in building strong and healthy relationships, and school-based mediation can be a valuable tool in improving communication and resolving conflicts in a peaceful and respectful manner.

If you are interested in discussing and implementing any of the above action plans, You Are Welcome to get in touch with Amee Dharamshi