High Conflict Central

Divorce Horror Stories in the Blogosphere Blogs of Fear

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net

High Conflict Central exists, in large part, due to the nasty divorce experience of its founding partners.  We have experienced the harshness of divorce, custody battles, denial of parenting time, ineffective court authorities, and worthless lawyers.  We understand how frightening it is to try and navigate the Family Court System, and we also understand the scary stories you will find on an internet search.  When you read some of these “I lost custody of my children for no reason” blogs out there, they will send you into a tailspin, and can create such fear,  anxiety, and drama that they will cause you to overreact to the Family Court System in  a way that will devastate your case.

Let me tell you something.  I have had the opportunity to read many of these cases.  I am here to tell you that in almost every  horror story case, when the parent tells you, “They took my children away from me for no reason”, the reality is that there is almost always a reason.  It boils down to that parent’s lack of understanding about what the system is trying to accomplish and their own erratic behavior.  For example, victims of Domestic Violence have a reaction to situations that normal people rarely have.  Because they have developed something called, “hypervigilance”, they can overreact to different processes that are a normal part of divorce and custody cases.

Because the court processes have become quite lengthy in a disputed divorce with children, parents are on edge, waiting to get rulings about when they will get to spend time with their children, and how much time they will have.  Waiting and not being in control of your own life or family creates anxiety and fear, but no one needs to allow anxiety and fear to overcome them or God forbid, to put you into a tailspin that results in losing time and the ability to parent your children.

High Conflict Central is here to help you navigate the Family Court System in an empowered way.  We have been through Family Court and lived to tell the tale.  We know that you can make the system and authorities in the system work better for you, but you are in control of how that goes.  We know that you can be a strong parent, in spite of a toxic co-parent and even the family court system.  You can, and you must!  You are the one who can break the cycle or dysfunction, domestic violence, and toxic relationships, and be an excellent role model who teaches children healthier ways to live life.

Steer clear of the negativity in the blogosphere!  We can give you an understanding of Family Court so you can use it to your advantage.  We will give you new skills to succeed in family court,  keep your children out of the fray and achieve the life you desire.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by connecting with us. Email us, or visit our High Conflict Central website to learn more.

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What’s the Difference Between a Parenting Time Expediter and a Parenting Consultant AKA Parent Coordinator?

 

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Let’s face it.  The world of Family Court today is nothing but crazy!  If you get divorced and you have children, prepare yourself for upside down and backwards land.  NOTHING is as it seems.  The power is extreme.  The players are extreme and there doesn’t seem to be much room for such things as liberty, the freedom to choose your own relationships and there really isn’t a whole lot of law going on in Family Court anymore, at least not post decree.

There has been a push to keep families out of court to try and make sure they don’t make anyone feel bad by having accountability.  Unfortunately, rather than NOT make parents feel bad by being held accountable for their actions, they instead make everyone feel bad, including the children.  Then, once everyone is feeling bad enough where they’ll do anything to make it stop, families are offered special help in the form of third party decision makers who can make decisions without you ever having to go to court.  Sounds great doesn’t it?  Well, it can be a nightmare.

Your family may very well need the help of a parenting consultant or parent coordinator, but they can be a very complex role that parents just do not understand.  We know that families do better when they are prepared.

Because parents are not always fully informed about the different roles of independent contractors who work with high conflict families,  High Conflict Central has created a free e-course to explain the difference between two of these court authorities that you might end up with.  Whether you are in Minnesota or not, there are things that you can learn in this free e-course about PCs, which are known as Parenting Consultants in Minnesota and Parent Coordinators in other states.  These are important roles to know about in a high conflict case.  Check it out:

Parenting Time Expediter vs  Parenting Consultant-What is the Difference?

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We Love Podia!

Tulips and Heart Shape Butterflies by anekoho
Image courtesy of anekoho at freedigitalphotos.net

 

Are you familiar with Podia?  We are, and we thought it was time to spread the news.  If you have a desire to offer course content to the public, your clients or customers, we highly recommend that you check out Podia.

We started out with an idea to offer free and paid course content to people experiencing high conflict divorce or relationship problems (or both!), but it took us some time to find a home for that.  We had never really done anything like this before and starting out we went to the first place we found (teachable).

Venturing in to the venue of providing course content online exploded our creativity, but we were finding things a little tedious and time-consuming over at teachable.  We also wanted to incorporate a membership platform at some point, too, and I was having to split my efforts between different places, mainly: teachable, a website, and membership works.  I couldn’t get a thing done by dividing my time that way!  So many things had to be duplicated.  I was fed up!  That is why I went looking for something different and that is when I found Podia!

Moving High Conflict Central was a difficult decision as we are very aware of how it can affect the amount of traffic to our site, but when we saw all the features Podia offers, we had to make the switch.   We are very happy we did!  Our traffic has actually increased with the move!

What do we like about Podia?  Everything!

We like:

  • They offer more, but we actually pay less than we did before for all of the separate vendors we had previously
  • They are extremely helpful and offer great customer service
  • They respond very quickly to questions, concerns (and even frustrations that have little to do with them, but involve my own panic)
  • They are friendly
  • They are positive
  • They make it easy
  • They save us time
  • Everything is user-friendly (which is not something I would say about teachable)
  • We can sell downloads and products, in addition to our courses
  • We can have our membership platform just like we wanted (yay!)
  • Everything is in one place (which makes me, the creator/tech gal very, very happy)
  • Everything is simple to understand as far as storefront set up goes
  • Our storefront looks great!
  • Podia is FUN!

High Conflict Central moved over to Podia months ago and we will be staying put right there.  We love it!  If you want to see what Podia can do for you, head on over there and don’t be afraid to ask questions, they’ll answer promptly.  You may even want to sign up for their free 14 day trial (that is how we started).  While you are at it, check out what we are doing though Podia over at High Conflict U, too!

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Co-parenting: You May Not Get There From Here

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Image courtesy of Becris at freedigitalphotos.net

 

Co-parenting, AKA cooperative parenting is an obsession with Family Court professionals.  It may even meet the level of addiction with some of them.  System-wide group think reigns over common sense and good judgment, especially when they don’t know there are other options available to parents.

Even the term co-parenting is not understood across the board.  Some Family Court professionals consider co-parenting to mean a shortened version of cooperative parenting, while others use the term meaning, “jointly or “together”.  Still, no matter how one looks at it, I wonder how anyone can do anything “together” or “jointly” if they are not doing so cooperatively.  That doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

For example, if I want to paint the living room blue, but my spouse wants to paint the room red, we might have to find a compromise.  We might say, “Fine.  Let’s paint two walls blue and two walls red.  If we could agree to do that and agree on which two walls each of us could paint as we desired, it might get done and we might both be able to live with it, but we’d have to be able to communicate rationally about that and see each other’s point of view and then come to an agreement about the particulars of how it is going to work.    There would also have to be a basic level of trust that both people would follow through and not sabotage the other’s plan or destroy what the other person has been working on.

If two people could not decide between the colors red and blue or were unable to decide which two walls each person could paint (maybe there is some inequality to the open wall space available), they might decide to blend the colors.  The problem with that is neither person would be achieving anything close to their original goal and they would both have to really like purple because that is what the result would be.  It would take flexibility on the part of both people.  It would also take respect for each other’s needs or wants and the same basic level of trust as in the first scenario.  Even then, blending has different meanings to different people.  Blending red and blue could mean making the room purple or it could mean one color with polka dots of the other, painting stripes of both colors equally (and again, what is equal to one may not be equal in the eyes of the other).  No matter how the compromises happen, they still have to involve good communication, flexibility, trust, respect, understanding, balance, a sense of fairness, etc., etc.  It is still going to involve some level of agreement to resolve the situation.  Otherwise, you will end up in the same old room, with the same old paint and nothing will change.

That is the same problem with co-parenting.  People can either do it or not do it.  It may mean different things to different parents and it may even mean different things to different professionals.  When parents cannot do it, they are accused of being “rigid” thinkers.  It can be true that neither parent wants to change or wants to change their perspective, but it is often really a matter of differing perspectives.  My perspective on it is this, we have alternatives to co-parenting.  When professionals will not allow those different ideas to come into play, they are the ones with “rigid” thinking.  What difference should it make to them as long as it decreases the conflict for the children?  That is really why the professionals are in place anyway, to decrease the conflict.

High conflict Central accepts a simple fact and that is many people cannot co-parent.  Even in happily married households, parents are doing things other than co-parenting.  We don’t rule out the possibility that people have the ability to get there if they are both willing to accept the situation and are willing to change and make a better life for their children, but we don’t start at co-parenting unless it is already happening.  We actually start at where you are.  What has happened to you?  How has it affected you?  How has it impacted your children?  What is the history between the parents?  What is the level of trust?  What is the level of respect?  Where is each parent at in their healing process?  Where are you at with your parenting skills as a single, divorced parent?  How much do you know about what is happening to you in Family Court and why it is happening?  That is where we start because all of those things need resolution before you can be ready, willing and able to co-parent.  We also know that even if you get there, co-parenting only works when both parents are ready, willing and able, and can approach the situation with good faith.  If one or both parents has a strong desire to keep hurting the other, co-parenting will not happen because trust can never be built under those conditions.

Parents who can co-parent, do co-parent.  They do so without a court order or any of the watchdog professionals that get appointed to make parents play nice in the sandbox.  High conflict parents should not be asked to start with co-parenting.  There are other ways to help the children.

An excerpt from “The Parenting Coordinator and Consultant Survival Guide”:

Because these are the types of relationships present in high conflict divorce situations, it is my opinion that family court needs to get out of the business of forced co-parenting. When you have parents who only know conflicted parenting, the bar is set too high to expect them to get to co-parenting. It is too high a leap for their skill set! High conflict parents could be allowed to use the parallel parenting style, unless and until they are healed enough to raise the bar to co-parenting.
We know that conflicted parenting is the worst situation for children in the middle. We also know that co-parenting is the best style for children of divorce, but there seems to be an unwarranted reluctance on the part of court authorities to consider the benefits that parallel parenting can offer in high conflict cases. I really don’t understand the reluctance at all.  Court professionals expect parents to jump from worst to best all in one shot:

CONFLICTED PARENTING >>>>CO-PARENTING

(WORST)                                                      (BEST)

That is quite a stretch for anyone, let alone, parents who may not have the communication and relationship skills necessary to make co-parenting work. If the professionals would give up some of their own rigid thinking, we could help parents go from here to here:

 

CONFLICTED PARENTING >>>> PARALLEL PARENTING
        (WORST)                                       (BETTER)

 

At least that would be a step in the right direction and give parents a chance to settle into their own lives with the children, learning to parent separately, and if they are so motivated,  gain some important skills before they move into co-parenting. Some parents may have to stick with parallel parenting to keep the peace, but at least a parallel parenting style would move them away from conflicted parenting and offer something better for their children. If parents did well moving from conflicted parenting to parallel parenting, they may gain the confidence to take it another step:

 
PARALLEL PARENTING >>>>CO-PARENTING
(BETTER THAN CONFLICTED)          (BEST)

 

That is my hope for change in the system. I’d like to see professionals have the ability to accept change for the better even when it is not the ideal. They should seek improvement in steps, rather than demand big changes that parents aren’t always able to understand. In my opinion, at least we would get parents out of the conflicted style of parenting and everyone benefits from doing that!

For now, we have a system of professionals who don’t realize that their rigid thinking about co-parenting is just as bad as parents who refuse to change. They continue to push co-parenting against all common sense and good judgement.

 

If you find family court, the professionals rigid thinking and co-parenting to be a mind numbing endeavor, give us a call.  We love to talk to high conflict parents and help them put a stop to the nonsense.  We feel so much joy when we see you and your children experience a little peace after trauma.  It isn’t as hard as you think, and we don’t care if your ex participates or not, as a matter of fact, we prefer to work with parents one on one.  It is always a free consult, and we offer some free e-courses, as well.  Contact us to learn more!

High Conflict Central was created by Susan Carpenter.  She is a relationship coach, Author and Instructor with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.  Her focus is on communication, relationships, family conflict and dynamics, and gender differences in communication, stress management, parenting and conflict.  She is an expert on relationships involving high conflict divorce, domestic violence, adult children of alcoholics/dysfunction, adults who experienced trauma as a child.  Susan is also the owner of Life’s Doors Mediation in Golden Valley, Minnesota,  where she is a qualified rule 114 mediator, parenting consultant, parenting time expediter and parent coach.  She wrote the book, “The Parenting Coordinator and Consultant Survival Guide” to help parents understand that process to utilize their PC more effectively.  You can contact Susan at connect@highconflictcentral.com or by calling (800) 516-2446.
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Never Interfere with Your Ex

If you want the truth to be shown, do not interfere.  When someone is digging themselves a deep hole, let them!  This is a hard concept for many divorced parents, but it is a myth to believe that any of it is within your control.  It isn’t.  Do what you are supposed to be doing and stop worrying about your ex.  They will do whatever it is they are going to do.  Trying to make them do what they won’t is a never-ending source of misery.  Protecting them from their own nonsense is no longer your role.  Protect the children as much as you can, but when you ex is acting a fool, let them.  If you think they are acting a fool, it is highly likely that other people will see it that way, too.  Don’t get yourself in the mix!

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You may also enjoy a video from Coach Susan called, “Just Get Outta the Way!” .  You can view it here.

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High Conflict Central-Win the Battle, End the War

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High Conflict Central was created by parents, for parents. Even though a couple of our coaches now work in different capacities in alternative dispute resolution processes, we all started out in your shoes and conquered the worst of high conflict divorce. Some of us even challenged bad custody evalutions and successfully motioned the court for sole physical and legal custody to free our children from a family court prison. We want to help you do the same.

High Conflict Central offers live and online training to help you learn to Manage Conflict, improve communication, work with and understand court authorities, such as Lawyers, Parenting Coordinator/Consultants, Guardian ad Litems and even Child Protection Workers, not to mention, learn ways to bring peace back to your home and keep your children out of the middle. Check out our free e-courses!

To see everything High Conflict Central has to offer divorced parents and victims of domestic violence, including divorced parent mentors, visit our website. We are here for divorced parents, and we will do whatever we can to ensure that you remain a strong parent who is involved in your children’s lives! Your children need you.

Our Number One Goal:

To teach you to be the strongest, most engaged parent you can be at this time when children need you the most, and, if necessary, to compensate for what is lacking in the other household. To shift the focus away from what is beyond your control and focus, instead, on what is.

Goal Number Two:

To help you acquire skills to live life to the fullest, regardless of the behavior of anyone else and successfully work with court authorities to achieve your goals.

Goal Number Three:

Finally, our goal is to ensure that children have the love and guidance from at least one parent to keep them out of the middle of conflict and teach them healthy relationship skills so that family cycles of abuse and dysfunction do not repeat.

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Living Rent Free in Your Head

Image courtesy of nattavut at freedigitalphotos.net
Image courtesy of nattavut at freedigitalphotos.net

When you devote much of your day in fear of your ex, or thinking about what your ex is doing, you are allowing them to live rent free in your head.  It is completely understandable that if you have had many negative experiences with your ex and experienced a prolonged, bitter custody battle, you would become afraid of having to deal with them in the future.  Still, the best thing to do is to get them out of your head and out of your life as much as possible.

I do not want to make light of the situation.  I hope to help people move forward and stop giving their ex more attention than they deserve.  If you have become overwhelmed with thoughts and fears about your ex, you have to work on changing your thinking.  It is not going to happen over night, but it can be done.  You will have to work hard at it and things may get worse before they get better.  What I mean by that is the controlling, abusive, meddling ex will do their best to make you fail in your quest for freedom.  That is reason enough why you must do it.  When you start paying less and less attention to them and no longer cower in fear of them, they are going to get in your face a little more before they slither away and the fact remains, they may never slither away completely.  You see, the problem is not with you.  It is with them.

Your ex has been masterful at turning the tables on you and keeping you off balance.  Because their behavior is not normal, you may be confused about why they are behaving the way they are.  Worse, you may also be confused by the realization that in the real world, people view your ex as very nice, smart, thoughtful, etc., and they may have a new relationship that seems just peachy which makes you  wonder if you really are the problem.  Trust me, you are not the problem.

Keep in mind that most people in the real world only get a glimpse of who your ex really is and when your ex wants to, he or she can really turn on the charm.  The same goes for the new relationship.  They must make their new partner see you as a crazy person.  It helps them ensure that you will never go near their new partner and that they will steer clear of you as well.  No one can talk to each other that way.  The angry ex’s secrets do not get divulged.  This keeps their new love in the dark about who they really are and it helps keep you wondering what the heck is going on…and they LOVE that.  Remember how they treated you early on and how wonderful you thought they were.  The new partner will also be charmed.

They LOVE having you fear them.  They LOVE living in your head rent free.  They don’t even have to do anything to control you because you fear them so much and try to anticipate what they will do next, you are putting them in control.  They don’t have to put any energy into it.  You are doing the work for them!  It feeds their ego to know that they are always on your mind.

So how do you go about changing things?

First things first, you have to put your fear behind you.  You may even need to get angry.  You also need to retrain your brain to stop any and all thoughts of your ex whenever they crop up.

Second, have a diversion.  If you are overwhelmed thinking about what your ex may or may not do about any given issue, have a friend or a hobby or even look for a new love interest and whenever you just cannot shake the evil ex thoughts, call on that person or take some time to work on your new activity.  If you choose a hobby, make sure that it is something that will keep you busy.  Reading sometimes will not work because if your mind keeps wandering, you will not really be reading.  Try exercise, too, and some stress reduction techniques, such as deep breathing, mediation or swinging your arms back and forth for 10 minutes.  Trust me, it works.

Third, carve out “ex free” time.  When you have the luxury of your child spending time at the other parent’s house or with grandma and grandpa or their friends, carve it out.  Announce to yourself that you will not give your ex anymore time than they have already taken from you.

This can be done, trust me, I have done it.  It takes some time and some practice, but once you master retraining your brain, the less you will think about your ex or care about your ex.  It will become habit to you and you will be well on your way to a new and happier life.  One last thing, it is natural to want to put your life on hold for fear that your ex will ruin anything that makes you happy, but that is just giving them more control over your life.  You do NOT want to do that.  Write down on a piece of paper in big letters the following:

NOT ONE MORE DAY.  MY EX WILL NOT GET ONE MORE DAY OF MY LIFE.  MY EX HAS BEEN LIVING RENT FREE IN MY HEAD FOR YEARS AND TODAY IS HIS EVICTION NOTICE.  HE/SHE NEEDS TO GET OUT OF MY HEAD AND OUT OF MY THOUGHTS AND OUT OF MY LIFE STARTING RIGHT NOW.  I DO NOT DESERVE TO BE TREATED THE WAY I AM BEING TREATED.  I DESERVE TO BE HAPPY.

And then go live it.  If you want to find a new love, seek them out.  Your ex may try to meddle and he/she may try to make things difficult for you in unimaginable ways, but you are stronger than he or she is.  Much stronger.  They have a sickness that they probably cannot escape, but you will choose to get healthier.  You will take steps to ensure that you never choose the same kind of psychopath as a partner again, and you won’t.  Your new love will love you and because they love you so much, they will see what your ex is doing and they will stand by you no matter what.

When you see it, you will believe it and achieve it!

Image courtesy of Nattavut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Just Get Outta the Way!

When your ex is acting the fool, just get outta their way! Professionals will never see what is going on when you tell them. Let them see for themselves! In our latest video, Susan will explain more about getting out of the way and allowing your ex to act a fool.  Remember, just because they may be acting the fool doesn’t mean that you have to do it, too.  In fact, your chance for successfully navigating family court greatly increase when you do not let your ex  rattle you. Check it out!

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Ignorance and Opposition to Parallel Parenting

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If you are not familiar with what parallel parenting is, our previous post explained more about what it is and why it can be helpful to high conflict parents. Here is a link to that post, “What is Parallel Parenting”, in case you’d like to read through that before continuing on with the rest of this post.

For high conflict parents, parallel parenting can be a way to move forward when they have difficulty with co-parenting after divorce. Regardless of their best laid plans or the detailed parenting plan they put in place, there are times when parents are not prepared for what is to come and did not realize how poorly they understood their situation enough to see the consequences of the decisions they made about child sharing after divorce. Parents desperately want closure and finality, but many do not get anything that resembles that, even though the legal process is over. For some, the battle keeps going and the conflict continues to escalate, often for years. When that happens, professionals label those parents as “high conflict”, but hold them to the same standard they would for low conflict cases. That is just not right.

The best way for high conflict parents to move away from conflict is to try parallel parenting. As a divorced parent going through Family Court, you may find that many professionals are opposed to the idea of parallel parenting and will constantly harp on the term co-parenting. Some professionals, even judges, have never heard of parallel parenting and that is astonishing. Why? Because for the last few decades, professionals were trained to help you co-parent and they were told that when parents co-parent, it is good for children. Post decree, the court is there for only one reason. The court’s concern is for the best interests of children. They are not necessarily concerned with the best interests of the parents. Parents had their chance to make decisions for how they wanted the details to work and then either put those decisions into written agreements that the court signed off on, or the judge decided the case for you. Once everything has been signed by the judge, the expectation is that you will follow the orders.

Many parents were only given one option for how they would parent after divorce and signed either an agreement or a court motion stating they would do it. That style is called co-parenting. Unfortunately, there are some misunderstandings in the world of family court about co-parenting. This post is to help parents and professionals alike understand that there are other options available to parents who cannot make co-parenting work for them. These options often are ignored, kept as a trade secret, or become a dirty word when the reality is, it should be okay for some families to do things a little differently when they do not fit the mold of the ideal that professionals envision for parents. What people need to understand is that many families are already parallel parenting, but the professionals continue to call it co-parenting or frown on those who fail to co-parent. Parents should have the freedom to utilize the parallel parenting style of parenting after divorce when it can be used as a tool to improve their situation and make things better for their children.

What is co-parenting and why are professionals so adamant that you have to do it? Well, it depends on who you ask. Some parents and professionals think of a co-parent in the same way you’d think of being a co-pilot. Just as co-pilots fly together, co-parents are parenting together. That is all it means to them, but if that is all it means, why are these parents co-parenting for the first time after they no longer live together? Weren’t they parenting together when they were together, in the same house? The analogy of co-parents and co-pilots seems terribly misplaced. When have you ever heard of co-pilots flying in two different planes? They don’t. So to say that co-parenting means to parent together would make more sense when talking about parents who live in the same house together. Still, most parents never hear the term co-parent until they are in the divorce process and have been living separately for a while. You never hear married parents refer to the way they are raising the children together as co-parenting, but they might be. Although it is possible that they may not be. As parents go through the legal processes of divorce, it is unlikely anyone ever explores what kind of shared parenting style the parents used there, but just because they lived together, it did not mean they were co-parenting. In some families, parenting styles are very different and each one does their own thing, even when they disapprove of the way the other parent manages their parenting. So really, what is the big deal about co-parenting? Some divorce professionals just see it as a word that means doing so together, but forget to tell you how difficult it is going to be to do it while living in two separate homes. Co-parenting is a really strange term when you think about it. How can two people co-anything when they are not there together, doing it at the same time? Maybe something like team-based parenting would make more sense? How about collaboratively parenting? I think we are doing a disservice to families by making all sizes fit in a one size fits all box. One of the best movie lines is from Forest Gump:

Momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Forrest Gump

Well, families are like a box of chocolates, too. Some may be full of nuts, some may look good on the outside while they contain some really icky stuff on the inside and some may be very different when looked at individually or may be best when taken in small doses. This is why we should think about what might be the ingredients of the family and what might fit the best before boxing them a box when their family prefers a plastic wrapper.

Even when working with professionals, parents never know what they are gonna get. Family court professionals can be quite different individually, too. Some professionals believe that the term co-parenting is meant to be a shortened version of two words, cooperative and parenting. Cooperative parenting is a style of parenting after divorce that is the most beneficial way for parents to ensure their children’s healthy development and help them adjust to their parents’ divorce. When parents can put their relationship behind them and transform that relationship into a cooperative model of communicating and resolving conflict, children will come through divorce without the psychological, relational, and behavioral harm children who are caught in the middle of high conflict experience. Cooperative parenting helps children cope and more power to the parents who can instantly do it! Cooperative parenting is the best way to function after a divorce and it will happen when it is the shared goal for both parents. However, cooperation is not a solo endeavor and so the key to success is having both parents on board with doing everything in their power to make it happen. If one parent is not prepared for it or has very different ideas about how to parent children from that of the other, it can be place an unfair burden on parents who want to do the best for their children, but are not getting the level of cooperation from the other parent that is required to make it work. It works when both parents approach the situation from a good place and are making a good faith effort to build a better, but different relationship than what they had before.

Divorced people are looking to end their relationship, not to put a great deal of work into a new and improved relationship, but or those parents who understand from the get go that their relationship is going to continue in a different capacity because they have kids together, that change will come easier than for those who feel blindsided by the idea that the relationship is not over. It is frequently more difficult for one person than the other, especially if they were not the one who wanted the relationship to end. They need time to come to terms with the change and deal with their feelings. It won’t be possible to make someone do something that they do not have the skills for. Sometimes, neither parent is ready. If they haven’t healed enough, they just won’t be ready to be in the same room with the other parent or talk to the other parent, at least not yet. If that is where parents are at, it will take some work to ever move them into a cooperative style of parenting. This is why family court professionals are doing more harm than good when they offer cooperative parenting as the only way of sharing children after divorce and force the issue too soon.

It would be nice if all family court professionals could define co-parenting so everyone can be on the same page about what exactly it means. Look up the definition on different websites, including legal websites, and it is hard to understand what it means and how to do it. To say that it just means together sounds rather odd. Can parents parent “together” if they are not cooperative? Can anything be done jointly or together when it is done uncooperatively?

Most people can relate to trying to work with a co-worker who held difficult feelings about them. Try working on a project with the guy who doesn’t like you, is competitive with you or jealous of you. It is going to make the completion of the project all the more difficult and it may mean that the boss will need to intervene and remind you about the deadlines and all of the collateral people who will be impacted when things are not done in a timely fashion.

Whether or not you understand the reasons why you co-worker doesn’t like you doesn’t make any difference. Maybe the coworker prefers to work alone. Maybe they want all the credit for a job well done. Maybe they feel slighted because the boss (or the kids) seems to like you better than they like them. Regardless of what the issue is, the negative feelings belong to the other person. You cannot change the way they feel. All you can do is do your best to get the job done and not let the other guy affect your work.

Just like in the work place, the goal may have been put on you by other people. It may have been something you were told you had to do rather than something of your own choosing. When you “have to” instead of “want to” or “get to” work together, it changes things like motivation and the level of commitment you have to the idea. Those things are going to impact how great the level of cooperation there is going to be. It doesn’t have to, but it often does. Maybe negative feelings are getting in the way, but maybe each person simply has very different styles for getting things done.

Family court could take lessons from the workplace. Companies tend to do a great deal of training and team building exercises. Managers know that people are all different and need to be prepared for certain tasks well in advance of having to perform them. Good managers can recognize when two people will make a good team and when they won’t. In a case where the two people cannot work well together, it may be possible and even desirable to allow them to complete their parts of the project separately. The company may want to offer some training or coaching to help them work as part of a team, but in the mean time, it may be the best way to allow each to use the skills they have. Most successful managers realize that you have to meet people where they are and give them the tools to develop the skills that will get them where you want them to be. It would be nice if family court professionals did a better job of looking at the relationship dynamics before locking you into one that won’t work for you, and hopefully, they can consider all of the options available that might get your family going in the right direction. Currently, though, parents need to take responsibility for their own knowledge and if something doesn’t sound like it will work for you, look for other ideas yourself if you can. You are very much at the mercy of the professionals you come in contact with. Some are extremely knowledgeable and helpful while some dictate what you need to do and push it through because time is money!

Because of the way Family Court and Family law operates, it can be challenging to find the right kind of help. Neutrals can only do so much. In most cases, they cannot spend one-on-one time with you because it could make them looked biased. Still others cannot give you the kind of help or education you need because of the role they perform on your case and the ethical considerations of their area of practice. Others, do work for you and only for you, but their hourly rates make it unrealistic to spend a lot of time talking to them, and then of course, there are the different factions. The legal folks aren’t very concerned about your feelings on anything and the psychological folks aren’t in the business of knowing any more than they have to about the law. Each can only help you on their end of the spectrum of knowledge when the reality for you is that you are dealing with a blend of different fields. Professionals from different fields have teamed up to try to help, but really cannot mix and mingle enough to be all that helpful.

The truth is, what you need most is support. You need a friend or mentor to walk your journey with you, someone who understands the blender you are caught in. At High Conflict Central, we do know. We have walked in your shoes and can share our experience with you to help you avoid the pitfalls that come with high conflict and we will tell you about things like parallel parenting because we know that you may not hear about it from anyone else. We are dedicated to education and want to teach you all you need to know about co-parenting, child development issues, conflict, communication and much more. We provide coaching and consultation, offer resources, classes, webinars and a place to air your frustrations with all things high conflict or family dysfunction. We also know who some of the most knowledgeable professionals are and we can refer you to the right place. Not all professionals are well versed in high conflict. It can mean disaster for you and your children when they don’t.

If you need a friendly ear or want to hear about the many conflicts that arise when trying to co-parent or parallel parent, especially with a difficult or hostile co-parent, give us a call. We always offer a free phone consult so you can know what to expect from working with us. Call us at 1-800-516-2446 or email us via connect@highconflictcentral.com. Connect with us today!

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High Conflict Central Disclaimer

 Because it is really about getting back to our lives and our kids and having a mentor to guide you along the way and listen to your concerns and understand your struggle can help you do just that!  High Conflict Central is about parents connecting with parents to lend support.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Please read our disclaimer and keep this in mind as you read our posts.

High Conflict Central Full Disclaimer:

The information on this blog is based on personal opinions and insight. Our writers are not attorneys nor licensed psychologists. We are Divorce Mentors, Relationship Coaches and Alternative Dispute Resolution professionals.

A majority of people struggling in Family Court are having issues due to a hostile ex or unhealthy relationship patterns. It has little to do with the law. None of the information or opinions offered by the authors should be considered legal advice. High Conflict Central and the individual writers who post are not rendering legal or other professional services through this blog and disclaim any and all liability to any person who reads this blog. We encourage readers to do their own research into the information that is provided. Readers should keep in mind that many things factor into court processes and cases can be quite different depending on where they are in the process and what has already been decided in their case.

Personal stories are shared to raise awareness. Our purpose is to help people disengage from high conflict battles and move into a happier and healthier life, but is not meant as legal advice or therapy. If you need legal or psychological advice, please seek the help of those professionals. Our goal is to support you as you navigate systems and the professionals you meet along the way and to help you learn from our experiences in the high conflict divorces that we lived through.