Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving Weekend Update

Our Thanksgiving this year was enjoyable but different - we had dinner with extended family. To some extent I missed our usual Thanksgiving rituals but I was also grateful for the chance to experience something new. (And, have someone else take responsibility for making it all come together.) For me, Thanksgiving is about celebrating all that I am grateful for. At this point in my life that includes everything from feeling good (last week I got the results of some blood work and I was delighted to see my good numbers) to the people in my inner circle. What are you most thankful for this year?

My activities this weekend include 5 broadcasts of my radio show. On Wed night my guests were Mark Townbridge, President and CEO of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce and Phil Reed, Consumer Advice Editor for

Mark and I talked about South Florida - our future as a hub for international business and the business challenges we face. Our current business climate seems to accept a lowered commitment to customer service. Tell me please, what happened to "the customer is always right?" Typically, I can accurately predict which businesses will soon be out of business simply by the service provided. Do you see it too?

Phil gave us some excellent information and great tips for buying a car. As I am in the market for a new car I will follow Phil's suggestion and do my research first and then make my purchase through the Internet Salesperson at one of the local dealers.

Thanksgiving night my daughter Sari and I discussed Tips For Getting Along With Your Family Over The Holidays (see below) as well as the Top 10 Gifts NOT To Give To Your Wife or Girlfriend.

Friday night my husband David joined me on the air. Our guests were Joe Sindoni, author of "50 Reasons NOT to Have Kids - and what to do if you have them anyway" and Adryenn Ashley, author of "Every Single Girl's Guide to Her Future Husband's Last Divorce."

Joe - - gave me a whole new perspective on my grandchild obsession, which I now feel ready to let go of. Additionally, Joe further fostered our interest in finding a community of like minded people interested in sharing the journey as we grow old together.

Like me, Adryenn - - is actively involved in figuring out ways to make our marriages work. Her idea of running a credit report on your future mate makes total sense. This is a great way to find out what you are really getting into before you get your credit histories intertwined.

Stay tuned for the two hour double header on Sunday. And, in the meantime, have a great weekend.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Grey divorce, Boys, ADHD, & Common Tables

Last night I had two interesting guests on the radio. Judy Smith, coach and founder of The Center for Planned Change, focuses her practice on helping women over 50 create new lives after divorce. You can sign up for her newsletter and learn more about her philosophy and strategies for surviving this common but difficult life transition on her website

Additionally, my guest Dr Adam Cox provided his unique perspective on parenting, raising boys, and ADHD syndrome. Dr Cox is very passionate about how the ADHD label is being misused and abused. Again, his website is loaded with relevant information and is a must read for any parent concerned about his/her son. After my talk with Dr. Cox I became more convinced then ever that the shared greed of the pharmaceutical and insurance companies is setting us up for a crisis. Together they are peddling easy/temporary fixes that will ultimately result in severe, long-term, negative consequences.

On a much more positive note I just joined a wonderful new organization called Common Tables - Common Tables is an organization that uses small group dinners to promote respect and understanding between traditionally disconnected communities. I absolutely love their idea of bringing small groups of diverse people together over dinner. If anything can help us transcend our differences and create meaningful dialogue, its a good meal. Please remember, never underestimate your power to make a difference.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tips For Getting Along With Your Family Over The Holidays

Millions of families won't be together this Thanksgiving because of fights, feuds and old resentments. On Thursday night, after we have stuffed ourselves full of turkey and the related trimmings, my daughter Sari and I will host my radio show - live. We will be discussing family estrangements and how you can make sure that misunderstandings and unmet expectations don't destroy the bonds that connect you to the ones you love. Anyway, in case you miss the show, here are my tips for getting along with your relatives over the holidays.

1. Be a good guest. Respect your host’s property and possessions. Clean up after yourself and your kids. Don’t bring your pets unless they are specifically requested. Don’t expect your host to monitor your children. Visiting your relatives should not signal a vacation from being a parent. Instead, watch your kids and make sure that they also respect property and possessions.

2. If you are the host whose property and possessions are not respected, ask for what you need. Its almost impossible to be both babysitter and chief cook and bottle washer at the same time. But, unless you ask for help and then allow others to provide it, the burden will fall on you and your resentment will grow. If you ask for help and it's not forthcoming let your guests know that this year the holidays were too much for you and next year you will be coming to them instead.

3. Avoid excessive drinking. Alcohol lowers our inhibitions and can leave your family open to a fiasco. When the others hit the bottle a little too hard that should be your signal to go home or go catch a movie.

4. If you really don’t want to go – don’t. However, do not wait until the last minute to cancel. Give your relatives time to make alternative plans.

5. Discuss the gift situation in advance and make plans so that everyone understands your position. Simplify gift giving by using cash or gift cards. Some families do only the kids, others pick one name from a hat, or maybe you will all buy your own gifts and do show and tell.

6. Under most family conflicts someone feels dismissed, discounted, disrespected, or disenfranchised. Make sure that you include everyone in the planning, preparation, and festivities. Try to be equal in your gift giving to avoid slighting anyone. If for some reason this is not appropriate or possible, do your giving at a time when you and the receiver will have complete privacy.

7. If you are carrying around a resentment from the past address it - in private - with the other person. Follow my 10-Step Plan for Ending Feuds and Building Connections -

8. Assign a family mediator and even if s/he is a natural get him/her some additional training.

9. Lower your expectations - for everything - from expecting feelings of happiness and joy to cooking the perfect meal. Do not expect others to get it perfectly right either. Don't take it personally if someone fails to send you a card or gift this year.

10. Email me if you need immediate assistance -

Saturday, November 17, 2007


The end of the year is near. This is a good time to do some housecleaning and move into the new year without some of our current burdens. The 12-Steps teach us to make a list of all persons we have harmed and make direct amends wherever possible. Sort of like Earl in "My Name is Earl" - one of the best shows on TV. Here are my thoughts on apologies.
  • A good apology can be very powerful and go a long way towards repairing a relationship. Even if you don't want reconciliation, an apology can bring closure and internal peace.
  • Doctors who apologize to their patients for medical mistakes don't get sued nearly as much as the ones who take a more arrogant attitude.
  • People in the wrong are often afraid to apologize; either because they believe that an apology will make them legally liable or open them up to blame and shame.
  • Many of the cases that I mediate - especially consumer and workplace cases - could easily be settled by someone making a decent/sincere apology. The problem is - usually - both people think that they have been wronged. It's often difficult to make an apology if you think that the apology should be made to you. Avoid this trap and base your actions on the big picture.
  • People on the receiving end of the apology are usually so grateful for the apology that almost anything works. You may simply apologize for the distress that the situation has caused both of you and your portion in creating it. Or, if its more appropriate you may want to say "I made a mistake and I am sorry. Hopefully, I will never do it again."
  • Let the receiver know that it is not your intention to re-hash the situation - just apologize. However, if you get a third person involved - someone to act as the mediator - you may be able to re-define the issues involved and see the initial conflict in a different light.
An apology can be magical, cleansing, and healing. For you, what apologies are in order? If you need help with an apology, please let me know.

Best, Elinor

Friday, November 16, 2007

New Rules for Circuit Civil Mediator Certification

Big news in the Florida Mediation World. Yesterday, the Florida Supreme Court finally approved the new point system for Circuit Civil Mediator Certification. (We have been waiting for this news for about two and a half years.) It is no longer necessary to be a member of the Florida Bar to obtain Circuit Civil certification. This means that professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds and fields of knowledge can now earn this valuable credential. You can read the administrative order here -

Later, Elinor

Sage Advice

In the last few days the signs have been everywhere. And, they are all pointing to this blog. All of the sage advice is saying - YOUR MUST HAVE A BLOG. So, here I am. Welcome to my blog.

My name is Dr. Elinor Robin. I am a mediator, mediation trainer and emerging media personality. (Susan Dubow, who will hereafter - in this blog - be known as Susan, my best friend and training partner at, calls me a media whore. But Emerging Media Personality is much more accurate - don't you think?

Anyway, in addition to training others to mediate, I mediate workplace disputes (mostly for the US Postal Service and the EEOC) AND I mediate divorces and related matters with my husband and partner David Spofford. We call our mediation practice A Friendly Divorce - No, its not an oxy-moron. Our co-mediation model is unique in that we bring both a male-female balance and an uncommon mix of legal and psychological expertise to the mediation table. Additionally, we take our clients one more step, preparing all of their necessary court documents so our one-stop-shop (OK, all inclusive service) allows them to then go in front of the court for an uncontested divorce.

My media activities currently revolve around my radio shows which are heard on WWNN Radio -1470AM ( - click on Listen Live) in South Florida. I am on Monday and Thursday nights from 8 to 9pm with The Dr Elinor Robin Show. Then on Sunday mornings from 10-11am I do a show called "What's Your Beef?" with Susan. This show gives us and the listeners a chance to vent, rant, and rave about whats wrong with the world. Then from 11-noon I host the MysticHolistic Hour. Thanks to my Executive Producer Rick Seid we have a steady stream of mystics and holistics (everything from Tarot Card readers to Chiropractors) who come to the studio with their individual methods for knowing and healing.

Radio is not my only media outlet. I also write some on-line and in print columns which focus on different aspects of personal and professional growth, relationships and conflicts. You can find me anywhere from (part of Entrepreneur Magazine) to The Solution News - - a local newspaper serving the recovery community.

As time goes on I promise I will divulge much more. So stay tuned.

Best, Elinor