Successful separate parenting and effective use of the Parenting Consultant process requires a conscious decision to disengage from the past and its negative experiences and emotions. Success requires a child and future focus as well as changes in behaviors from BOTH parents.
The Big Picture: If you have a conflicted parenting relationship, it is likely that you and your parenting partner have very different approaches to parenting and very different ways to solve problems. The positive side of this reality is that your children will be exposed to a variety of parenting and problem solving styles and skills. The negative side is that your vastly different approaches to parenting and problem solving cause your children to be caught in the cross-fire.
In a perfect world you would parent cooperatively. Relying on other people to make it happen is not realistic. If you could not change each other’s beliefs and behavior while you were married/together as a couple, you are not going to change each other’s beliefs and behavior now that you’re divorced/apart. It is even more unreasonable to believe that an outside party can change those beliefs or behaviors. A PC cannot; your attorneys cannot; and the court cannot. Only you can make the changes, and it will require an entirely different mind-set from each of you. In the majority of my PC cases, both parents desperately want to change the negative dynamic which exists between them. It is obviously stressful and unhealthy for both parents…multiply that times one hundred for the children.
Success will require changes from both parents. Conflicted parenting is the result of both parent’s contributions. That being the case, each parent needs to be part of the solution…which means you will both need to make adjustments to your behavior. It won’t be easy and occasionally PC assistance will include recommendations about how each parent may personally make a more positive contribution to the parenting relationship. These suggestions are sometimes be difficult to hear; therefore, it is important to remember that the PC process is about doing what is necessary to effectively parent your children without conflict. It is not about blame or being proven right; not about maximizing your legal rights or seeking punishment for mistakes. These approaches DO NOT work and they certainly do not serve the best interests of your children. The PC process is about establishing the best parenting relationship you possibly can, for the sake of your children. In many cases, this means accepting real and workable solutions which may not seem ideal or fair.
Amber is a divorced parent and step-parent working in private practice as a divorce and parenting specialist. Her practice is located in the southern Twin Cities metropolitan area and she offers services as a mediator, coach, PC, early neutral evaluator and Parents Forever educator.
You can reach Amber at firstname.lastname@example.org or 952.252.1492