In This Issue:
Update regarding Mediation Services for Faculty and Staff
On April 19, 2011, Mediation Services held its biannual meeting for its volunteer University mediators. The volunteer mediators are a group of dedicated individuals who volunteer their time to help University employees resolve work place disputes. Volunteer mediators provide two services to the University community: consultations and mediations.
Consultations are confidential conversations with a consultant/mediator concerning a work-related concern. During consultations, consultants/mediators help the individual explore strategies to address their workplace concerns. Consultants also lead the individual to University resources that may help them address their concerns, including discussing the possibility of mediation.
Volunteer mediators also conduct mediations. Both parties must agree to mediate as mediation is strictly voluntary. Mediation is a facilitated discussion with the goal of crafting a resolution that meets everyone’s needs. It is a process designed to give the parties greater understanding of each other’s concerns through facilitated communication.
Please visit http://www.umich.edu/~mediate for more information.
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Addressing Family Conflicts
Conflicts occur in every family at some time. Often we are able to address some conflictual issues with relative ease. At other times the conflicts become serious concerns and a source of tension between family members. Reflect on the types of conflicts that occur in your family and how they can be difficult. Some typical examples are as follows:
- Conflicts about who should do which chores. Who gets to put away the laundry or who gets to run errands , such as dealing with the pets, or going to get the children from someone else’s house or school.
- Conflicts with or about parents and/ or in-laws. Here there may be a wide range, from visiting issues to care responsibilities
- Conflicts of Style – one family member tends to want things done now while another tends to procrastinate
What Contributes to Conflicts in a Family?
- Assumptions – We assume other families members know what we expect.
- Learned Behaviors that don’t match well – We often adopt styles used by our parents. Also we learn styles and approaches from friends, and roles models. What worked for them might not work well in our own families.
- Gender and Cultural differences can influence how we approach differences and conflicts
Approaches that typically don’t work when we disagree – Reacting immediately with a negative comment when a partner or child makes a suggestion we don’t like.
- Avoidance –hoping the issue will go away (avoiding conflict by not discussing angry feelings or clarifying misunderstandings.) Because this is one of the most common responses to conflict, it leads to many problems. Often resentments increase from members as others avoid discussing a sensitive topic.
- Shifting the Blame- changing the focus to what someone else’s responsibility was
Approaches and Tools to Manage Family Conflict
Foremost think about how you would like to be approached by someone when they disagree with you or want you to do something differently. Make every effort not to put other family members on the defensive. Take time with all of your family members, when there is not a “standing conflict”, to talk about how you should approach differences when they arise.
Following are some additional tips and skills that can be of help when a conflict arises:
- Reflect on the other family member’s points of view. You don’t have to agree, but use a phrase like “I understand or hear that you are saying……”
- Make use of “I statements” versus accusatory “you statements”. For example “I would like to have a call if you are going to be more than fifteen minutes later than you normally get home.”
- Avoid trigger words. If you are aware of certain words that cause defensive or angry responses from a partner of family member, think of other words to that could be used.
- Watch your approach. Examine your body language and tone when bringing up a subject.
- Set up a regular family meeting time to discuss family chores and responsibilities. This often enables each family member time to prepare and feel safe bringing up topics that are important to them.
If you would like some input and assistance with developing a plan to address a family conflict or improve communication within your family FASAP professionals counselors are available to assist you.
To schedule a time to meet with one of our staff call 734-936-8660 or email email@example.com.
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Is FASAP Conveniently Located for You?
FASAP is located in the Administrative Services Building at the corner of Hoover & Greene St (near the U-M Football Stadium). We'd like to know how convenient this location is for you.
Please, take this short web survey and tell us what you think: http://www.umich.edu/~fasap/locationsurvey.html
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The Emergency Hardship Fund: A Simple Way to Help Colleagues in Need
Sometimes, unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances can result in a traumatic or emergency financial crisis for a faculty or staff member. A Sudden illness, family crisis, or natural disaster can lead to an unplanned financial crisis. The U-M Emergency Hardship Program was established for such times.
When our colleagues face an unexpected, temporary and significant hardship and are left without sufficient funds for rent, utilities or other immediate and essential expenses, the Emergency Hardship Program was created to provide resource recommendations and, in specific emergency cases, one-time funds to bridge the financial gap.
If you would like to contribute to the Emergency Hardship Fund information on how to donate can be found on the website for the program. All contributions go directly to helping
Colleagues in need and no University funds are used to support the fund as it is totally supported by donations.
For information on how the program works, who is eligible for assistance and other information about the Emergency Hardship Program go to http://www.emergencyhardship.umich.edu/.
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Preparing for the Emotional Aspects of Retirement
Are you interested in attending a presentation, workshop, or series of sessions focusing on preparing for the emotional and family impact of retirement? Please take a few minutes to let us know if you are interested by completing a short survey at http://www.umich.edu/~fasap/retiresurvey.html.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
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Did You Know: Mental Health Facts?
- Approximately one in five Americans will experience a mental health condition at some point in their life.
- Mental Health "Conditions” are not character flaws or signs of weakness- they are the result of genetic, biological, and environmental causes.
- Up to 80% of those who suffer from depression and anxiety can be helped with treatment and most do get better after assistance.
- Over a third of those who seek assistance at FASAP do so for help with relationship issues.
- FASAP is a good resource for locating treatment resources within the university or in the community. We can provide this information in-person, by phone, or by email.
- Employees of the University are not required to obtain an “authorization” or a referral from their primary care doctor to see a mental or behavioral health specialist. FASAP or the UMHS Employee Assistance Program can provide you with the names of appropriate providers.
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U-M Family Helpers - A Resource for Help Around the Home
U-M Faculty, staff or students seeking services such as temporary child care, elder care, pet sitting, house sitting, or yard work can find students looking for employment at the U-M Family Helpers website, a service from the U-M Work/Life Resource Center.
“Family Helpers is a great way to help our faculty and staff meet a variety of needs at home, while giving U-M students an opportunity to earn some extra money and make connections with the greater community,” says Jennie McAlpine, director, U-M Work/Life Programs. “And we’ve recently updated the website to make it easier to use.”
Family Helpers information is available to those with a Kerberos (level 1) password at https://www.hr.umich.edu/familyhelpers/. Student profiles are searchable by services offered and contain specific information about individual students' qualifications, experience and availability, as written by the students. Students listed on this site have cleared a State of Michigan criminal background check. Additionally, there is an option for faculty and staff to post “Help Wanted” ads.
“Family Helpers is also a great way for U-M families to connect with students for summer help,” adds McAlpine. “We’ve had a lot of positive feedback about Family Helpers and we hope it continues to be a great resource for the community.”
More information about U-M Family Helpers is available here http://www.hr.umich.edu/worklife/familyhelpers/.
For questions, contact Barb Mulay, manager, U-M Work/Life Resource Center, at email@example.com or 936-8677
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