Family Mediation

Alone in London provides mediation services for young homeless people. Its Family Mediation service works to support young people and their families through periods of difficulty.

MediationCauses of Conflict and Homelessness

Most families experience periods of conflict and a breakdown in communication, especially between young people and their parents. This is not extraordinary; however, if the conflict or breakdown in communication is not addressed in a managed way, the effects can be devastating.

When engaged in conflict with someone or engaged in a negative relationship, we often fail to recognise that we have entered into a dysfunctional cycle. The conflict and style of communication starts to gather its own momentum and determines a new meaning to the relationship.

Some of the key causes of family conflict/breakdown that can lead to homelessness include:
  • Mental Health (lack of support)
  • Finance/debt
  • Step parent/families
  • Overcrowding
  • Domestic violence
  • Unemployment
  • Leaving prison
  • Emotional/physical/sexual/mental abuse

Conflict at home is not unusual and there ways of managing conflict to help reduce the likelihood of a complete breakdown in relationships and communication and ultimately the likelihood of homelessness. Here are some tips:

Calm down – lower your tone and take deep breaths. If needed walk away from the situation and address it at a later date.

If the matter is urgent, try to find a resolution rather than attribute blame. The Chinese understanding of the word conflict is ‘Danger and Opportunity’. If not managed constructively, conflict can be dangerous, but with a willingness to resolve, conflict can provide an opportunity for understanding and a positive way forward.

Think about what you might be doing to aggravate the conflict, not just verbally but also in manner, tone and behaviour. Is there something you can do differently?
Use your listening skills - ask calm questions to find out if there is a hidden need or interest the other party has. Avoid asking "why" as this can make some people feel defensive.

Don’t attack – try to focus on what it is you are arguing about with the purpose of find a solution. There is no point in attacking the opposing party by name calling or being abusive (even if they are doing so to you) this will never resolve the argument.

Be realistic and factual – Some of us feel that when engaged in conflict or an argument, this gives us a license to say and do what we like because we are ‘angry’. Well there are consequences for all of our actions even when the action is out of anger or temper. Remain realistic about your interest and factual about what you are saying.

We also help young people and their families resolve conflict, whether new, historic or lingering by offering and facilitating mediation. Mediation provides a safe and confidential environment for the expression of emotion, feeling, issues/concern and interest.

The purpose of mediation is to empower and enable parties (the young person and their parents/guardians) by giving them the control to make informed choices and jointly decide acceptable outcomes. Mediation is not about assigning blame or deciding who is right or wrong.

We appreciate that some issues may not be resolved or that in the best interests of an individual, they leave or are asked to leave the home. Under these circumstances we offer support to maintain relationships in a positive and supportive way whilst exploring realistic and achievable outcomes for a sensible move on.

Tailored support for each young person and family member is offered in a variety of ways.

Download Family Mediation leaflet.

Wish to see a mediator or wish to refer someone? Download a Family Mediation Referral Form.