Mediate This!

I Am Estranged From My Daughter, Shes 20, Can You Help Me

September 10, 2021 Matthew Brickman, Sydney Mitchell
Mediate This!
I Am Estranged From My Daughter, Shes 20, Can You Help Me
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Mediate This! Matthew Brickman and Sydney Mitchell respond to someone in desperate need of guidance regarding their estranged daughter and how to find a resolution to reunite.

If you have a matter, disagreement, or dispute you need professional help with then visit iMediate.com - Email mbrickman@ichatmediation or Call (877) 822-1479

Matthew Brickman is a Florida Supreme Court certified family and appellate mediator who has worked in the 15th and 19th Judicial Circuit Courts since 2009 and 2006 respectively. But what makes him qualified to speak on the subject of conflict resolution is his own personal experience with divorce.

Download Matthew's book on iTunes for FREE:
You're Not the Only One - The Agony of Divorce: The Joy of Peaceful Resolution

Matthew Brickman
President iMediate Inc.
Mediator 20836CFA
iMediateInc.com

Mediate This! Podcast:

Hi, my name is Sydney Mitchell. Hi, I'm Matthew Brickman, Florida Supreme court mediator. Welcome to the Mediate This! Podcast where we discuss everything mediation and conflict resolution.

Sydney Mitchell:

All right. Our last question here. I don't know where you're going to take this, but it says I am a strange from my daughter. She's 20. Can you help me? Huh ? Where do you, where do you want to take that?

Matthew Brickman:

Where do I take that? Um, I take it, I take it here or ,

Sydney Mitchell:

Or tell me, tell me what this person might really be seeking from you because ,

Matthew Brickman:

Um , all right , so, so I'm estranged from my daughter. Can you help me? She's 20 legally. Okay. So from, we'll look at this from three different points of view. Okay. Um, legally there's nothing I can do. She's 20, she's an anticipated. She's not subject to a court. There's no court order. There's nothing that I can do to help you and your daughter , uh, get your relationship back legally from a legal standpoint. So I think that's probably the most obvious being as she's 20, if she was say 8, 10, 15, right. I would say, okay, you're estranged from your daughter. What's your parenting plan? Say, you know, well, why have you not seen your daughter? Uh , you know , I mean then, then we start digging into, okay, well, is there parental alienation? Um , have you not been following your schedule? Why aren't you seeing your daughter like, okay, well, this is what you agree to in your parenting plan. Like, you know, from a legal standpoint, we would look at it from that point of view, but she's 20, there's nothing legally. So, you know, can I, can, is there anything that you can file in order to get, you know, force her to have a relationship? No. No, because she's, she's 20. So I think that's probably the first piece , um, from a therapeutic standpoint , um, I'm not a therapist, so you want to come to your dog , like you want to come to me, you know , to figure out, you know, like what happened to you as a child? And why are you the father that you are, and let's talk to her about her childhood? Nope, not my wheel-well either. Like I'm not a therapist. Um, can I help? I would say yes, but you gotta understand how, I guess how that help is packaged. Um, because you're not coming to me in a legal format, but you're not coming to me in a therapeutic format.

Sydney Mitchell:

And that's why even just reading the question, I was a little bit confused as to, you know, so,

Matthew Brickman:

But, but you know what, if you've got a tire , so Sydney , how old are you? 23. 23. All right . And I'll be 46 in a couple of weeks. So if you were estranged, I , right . So I'm , I'm sorta going to bring you into this conversation. Okay. Because you're 23. So if you were strange from your dad and your dad was trying to force you into a relationship, and I'm thinking about my daughter, who's now 24 . I wanna say she's around my age too . Her and I were estranged after a parenting plan. Right? Because it was after a parenting plan. Well, well now, technically, now she was 18, still in high school, but the judge would acknowledge, you have to plan a whole nother story, hold on the podcast. Um, but if you were estranged from your father and he tried to come to you from a legal format, you would just be like, whatever, right? Like you, like, you're not the boss of me. You can't force me. Right. Right. It becomes to you. And , and you're a stranger to me is that you and him are having problems. And you really don't want anything to do with him . If he came to you and said, Hey, Sydney , let's let's have therapy. You probably, really wouldn't be open to that either because I don't need therapy. I mean, you know, what do I care? My life is fine. You're not in it. I don't really care. I mean, obviously there are strange, right. But if somebody comes to you and says, look, I know that there's nothing legally. And you know, once I don't want to force you into therapy, but let's go talk to a relationship, conflict resolution specialist that , you know, coming to a negotiation table starts to seem a little bit more inviting and less threatening. Right? Sure. Because it's not therapy, but it's not, but it's not legal either. Well, so what is it? Well, it's somebody that helps people that are experiencing conflict in their relationships. Okay. Well, what's the goal. Well, you're a priority and I want to have a relationship with you. Well, that's a good goal because then you're not trying to analyze. Somebody's like nobody went like rarely do people just be like, analyze like Sydney . I'm an open book analyze me. No , I will . Especially

Sydney Mitchell:

In this situation, I know you're a strange there's years of tension. And,

Matthew Brickman:

And so really like, I mean, I would think from, from a conflict resolution point of view, to come to the negotiation table, you want to come to a table that is not threatening of any type. I mean, it doesn't really matter. The D you know, what , what the negotiation is, you want to come to the negotiation table. That's not threatening. And I would think that that going into , I mean, like I, I've done a couple of mother-daughter , um , I've done a couple of mother daughter , uh , and this and this, and I don't know, this might be a mother, daughter, maybe a father, daughter. Um , I've done mother-daughter conflicts. And it's surprisingly that I've done. Mother daughter, not father, daughter, not father, son, mother, daughter , um , conflicts where the two of them just, it's just a yelling match. And so I actually went over to their home. I sat with them and in a controlled and vine , a mediated type controlled environment, we're able to , uh, do what I call. We had a controlled burn , uh, where we were able to just get it out because here here's the thing. They're not forced into a legal arena because of , because she's 20. Right. But in therapy. And I don't know if you've been in therapy, if you've been in therapy. Um , I just finished , uh , three sessions of therapy with my adult son. Who's 22, really, really good. We were able to jumpstart our relationship on the right path again. So that was amazing. And it's been really good, but there, you know, we go into therapy sometimes it's like, well, okay, Sydney , um, calmly, quietly, respectfully share how you feel, right? Calm, quiet respective may not be on the menu for you .

Speaker 4:

Maybe upset. Maybe I'm not in that type of mood right now.

Matthew Brickman:

And depending on what you're talking about may not be like, you may need to burn this forest down, but in a controlled environment so that you can recultivate the land and build something new

Sydney Mitchell:

With somebody understands how to not only counselor , but mediate. Yeah .

Matthew Brickman:

And so, so , you know , you're estranged from your daughter and I don't know, man, or woman, but trying to have a relationship with your kid saying, Hey, I don't want to force this. I can't force it legally. I don't want to force you into therapy, but I bet your priority. And I want a relationship with you. And let's go talk with someone who deals with relationships all day long, not a therapist, not a lawyer, not a therapist, not a lawyer actually now brings the defenses down. Right. Makes it more inviting. And look, I was a strange from my daughter. And again, I don't know if this is a man or a woman, but I was estranged from my daughter. So I even know. Yes. I know how that feels. I can actually say I understand I actually have been there and done that. So could I help? Yes, but not from a therapeutic because it wouldn't be, Hey Sydney , you know, tell me about your childhood. Like, look, I don't care about your childhood. I really don't. I don't even care who you are as a person, because who you are is who you are. I'm not going to change you and the other. Person's not going to change you. So you can go to therapy and figure out who you are. And if you want to fix you, you can fix you. But that's not what we're going to be in this session with this father, mother with them , right. Who they are is who they are and got them into the issues that they're into. How do we just move them forward?

Sydney Mitchell:

[inaudible] well , you know, it's taking the focus off of the, you know, from the individual, Hey, I'm going to fix you in therapy, or I want to change something about your lifestyle circumstances, whatever, legally it's, Hey, we have something that , that needs that it needs to be resolved. Not you need to be resolved, or I need to be resolved. Let's fix it, whatever that is together in Sydney.

Matthew Brickman:

I love that you, that , that you have seen it that way, because this is interesting when I was a dependency mediator. Okay. So dependency mediation is different than family mediation because with dependency mediation, basically you're herding cats and not, that's not H U R T I had G

Speaker 4:

Hurting. Like we're moving pads around

Matthew Brickman:

Like the guys , but anyway. And so in independency mediation, we're sitting there with mom and dad and usually mom and dad's attorney DCF, DCF attorney, maybe a guardian ad litem, guardian ad litem attorney. And, and what's interesting is you, you have , uh , you have multiple attorneys in the room, multiple agencies, and a mom and dad in a room. And it's really easy to all of a sudden go defensive and start accusing agencies , parents, or attorneys. Right. So, you know what we would always do as mediators cause every, somebody in that, in that, in that pile of people had had this, we would ask for a photo of the child and we would take the photo of the child and stick it in the middle of the table. And as soon as somebody started it on, somebody else would be like stop. And we point to the photo and say, this is what we're here for. Remember. And it was just like, you're saying, it's not about fixing anybody. We're focusing on the problem. Right. That's what we do in dependency, mediation is we would pull out the photo of the child. And because it's so with, with, with so many individuals and agencies and attorneys and mindsets and accusations and stuff floating around, you can get derailed in a second. I'm sure. And so by, and so by, by saying, let's focus on the child. Um, I did the , I , you know, occasionally I would do that. I, I used to do that in family mediation , um, not a whole lot anymore. Um, but I , I used to in certain situations , um, I would do that. Um, and I found it, I found it helpful. Uh , I mean, it just, it was never not helpful. Um, but, but yeah, I mean, and so, and so yeah, by , by , by it not being a lawyer, not being a therapist, but a conflict resolution specialist, somebody who just knows how to identify and help people work through conflict. Yeah. Yeah. I can help them . Um, you know, and so, you know, mediating, doesn't just have to be in a legal arena most of the time. It is , uh , it's for a legal matter, but it doesn't have to be , um, you know, I've , I've, I've got a therapist, actually, the, the therapist that my son and I went to, he actually refers me. People that are in marriage counseling. Now, these people are not in the legal arena. They're not filing divorce, but what he does is he refers them to me so that I can take them through a parenting plan and what a divorce will look like so that they can look and see, okay, if we don't pay attention with our therapist is this is my life is going to look like right exercise. It's a great exercise to sit down with somebody for an hour and just say, okay, you both are living in the same home. You guys get to see your kids all the time. Okay. Now you're going to see your kids either. You're going to have Monday, Tuesday, and the other parent's going to have Wednesday, Thursday, you guys are going to alternate weekends, and you're going to alternate holidays. And every other year, you're not going to have your kids for Christmas or for Thanksgiving. It's like, what? Like what, what do you mean? I'm like, okay, so that pension you've been working. I just, like we had talked about earlier, they have that pension with that retirement. Okay. Half of it hurts , wait a second, but that's not enough. And it looks , she needs to be like, well, but I'm going to have to pay taxes on it. So, but then that, but now I don't get as much. Oh. And you're going to have to sell your home. But this is the only that that , you know, our kids have known doesn't matter. Right. Like, okay. You know, because individually you guys, neither of you have enough to pay for this home, right ? Yeah . Because you know, you get divorced, you're gonna have two rents, two electrics, two waters, two cables, two internets , like, wait a second. You know, you only have one income, like, okay, there's not enough money to go around. And so mediation can be good, whether you're in a legal arena or not. I mean, it's conflict resolution. It's not, it's not divorce. It's not paternity it's conflict resolution. Like I resolve conflict. I can certainly help people resolve conflict. They're the people that are going to resolve it if they so choose. So, you know, but I mean, yeah. You know, fine . You're estranged from your daughter that sucks. I know I've been there and done it. Can I help? Yes. Not from a legal arena, but not from a therapist around either from a conflict resolution relationship standpoint. Sure. Now, can I force anybody to the table? No. In a divorce or paternity. Yes. You can file legal documents that are going to force them to the table because it's statutory. You have to con and Florida, at least you've, you know, you've got to come to mediation. Uh , and, and so, okay, fine. So there , but if they're 20, there's no way you can force them. So instead of forcing, make it less threatening and make it actually inviting, you know, because look, there's, there's no legal documents designed. We're not lying . We're not making a pact like you and your dad would be pulling out a paper bag . Okay. Here's our pact and 20 Sidney agree. Like, no, like you're working through issues, you know? Um, luckily like with my son , um, you know, we have such a great, great, great therapist that, you know, as a, no , for me, I'm like, I'm not going to another conflict resolution specialist because I am a conflict resolution specialist, but you know, what does it mean that I can resolve my own? You know, sometimes I'm so close to it that I get in my own way, but I understand that there's that even I need, I need an outlet. I need help. And so my son and I went to, you know, our therapist who was able to sit and listen to me and listened to my son, call me out when I was wrong, call my son out when he was wrong, give us tools, you know, he, he gave us assignments and exercises that then we do for two weeks and we come back and be like, well , I did my assignment. He didn't do his assignments. Like, why didn't you do your assignment? Oh, well, it's like, you realize that now this is your fault, you know , but it wasn't me calling him out. And so then my son did his assignment and then, Hey, look, the next session, we're both on track. So, you know, I mean, having those tools, you know, the tools are out there. Some people , um , Sydney, some people refer to them as life coaches. Um, you know, some people have a life coach, you know, it's a motivational coach that they can call , uh , are they trained to resolve conflict? I don't know. You know , um, sometimes life coach conflict resolution specialists get interchanged and thrown , thrown around in the same arena. Um, I would personally separate them. Um, just, just, just because of the training. Right. You know, the training involved. Um, but , um, I think , uh, but you know, mediation, you know, most mediators though. Um, and I think we're where there is some overflows, most mediators either come from the legal arena or they come from the therapy side, it's one or the other, and then dealing with divorce or you're dealing with both legal and emotional all day long anyway .

Sydney Mitchell:

Yeah . Yeah.

Matthew Brickman:

So do we have any other questions for today?

Sydney Mitchell:

Well , that's all I've got and I just want to say Matthew, thank you. Because this is so valuable to so many families and, and, you know, just like you stated when we first started this podcast, the goal is so that people can find hope and make peace in their homes. And when, when we're able to develop this insight , um, it changes things, you know, just like when you were talking about you sit down with a couple of the table and talk about, okay, this is what this would look like. You know, the reality becomes real. And so , um, so just thank you, thank you for this conversation. Thank you. I hope that our listeners , um, you know, feel that they've gained some information and some value and some insights that they wouldn't otherwise have , um, hopefully that they are able to achieve hope and create peace in their homes. So thank you, Matthew, and keep

Matthew Brickman:

The questions, comment , everybody, because Sydney and I love doing that. So keep, keep asking, keep posting, keep, you know, direct messaging house and , uh, Lancer more when we get them.

Sydney Mitchell:

If you have a comment or question regarding anything that we discuss, email us at info at chat , mediation.com that's info. I chat I C H a T mediation.com and stay tuned to hear your shout out and have your question answered here on the show

Speaker 1:

For more information about my services or to schedule your mediation with me, either in person or using my iChatMediation Virtual Platform built by Cisco Communications. Visit me online at www.iMediateInc.com. Call me at 561-262-9121, Toll-Free at 877-822-1479 or email me at MBrickman@iChatMediation.com.