In some instances a Parenting Plan can be compared to the hope and structure of the clean-up operation that follows the destruction of a powerful storm. Putting this carefully crafted document together is alike to the leaning out, reassembling and reorganizing of a flooded home. It will never look the same and has the potential to look better than before. Each item selected for return has value.
The parental relationship can suffer significant damage during and after separation and divorce. It is unrealistic to assume that this relationship can be artificially protected whilst the parents are grappling with the disintegration of a once loving relationship that carried their dreams and promise for the future.
Our three points of focus:
Your area of influence
You can choose to view your child’s other parent as the monster, villain and the one who can never get it right. You can choose to view your child’s other parent (when it is appropriate to do so) in a balanced manner. In starting to think about this aspect, you may want to consider that your child has a separate relationship with their other parent and your child’s feelings about this person may not be exactly the same as your feelings. What does you child need from their other parent? What does your child’s other parent to contribute of give to the child?
When you are living together there is an implicit structure that regulates the relationships and practical arrangements. Once parents live apart these arrangements and relationships need to be restructured. Ongoing negotiations are a breeding ground for conflict which both of you can do without. The drafting of a Parenting Plan provides the structure from which parents and children need.
Why do parents view themselves so different from the way the other parent views them? When I look at the results of the Familyzone Grid Questionnaire, it is remarkable to see the difference in how parents rate themselves and how the other parent rates them. One parent believes that they share information freely and the other parent feels that no information is shared. How is this possible? The answer to these disparate views lies in the area of expectation. Parent one may believe that he is sharing all information freely but he is obviously not sharing the information that parent two wants him to share. These differences in expectations form the basis for ongoing conflict. The FCM Parenting Plan process is structured to ensure that both parents expectation become explicit.
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