Well, praise be to God. After many years, and many parents trying and failing to get the news media to do a story on parenting consultants, a couple of brave Moms were able to finally shine a spotlight on the process. Information is power and so I do call this a success story. The journalist also interviewed Karen Irvin, a long time PC, and I suppose they had to do so in order to be fair, but that seemed to put the criticism back on the parents more than the process itself.
Personally, having experience on both sides of the process, I know that there is enough blame to go around. Parents can become quite hostile with one another. That is a problem. However, there is the problem of having a process that takes money away from the families who need it and having no way to get out of that process if you find it does not help your situation or it turns out to be much more expensive than you had anticipated.
The news story says that parenting consultant contracts are for two years. I still hear from a multitude of people that have no end date in the contract or court order. Much of what is wrong in the system is that the system does not educate itself on the latest recommendations, nor do they require any special education for parenting consultants. It is available, but it is not required. As Karen Irvin said, “We’ve developed a two-day training that we think should be four days, but I don’t know that we could get people to a four day training.” I’d like to challenge that thinking because many of these same people are willing to attend a three-day divorce camp!
Parents do share some of the responsibility for how bad the relationships are because there are times the PC is used as a weapon and just the presence of the court authority overseeing your life can invite nit-picky battles that probably would not happen without the presence of a court authority and the false sense of power that provides. But the court would be wise to put in place some on-going training requirements and also to adopt standard language for a pc order that includes a time limit either across the board or an agreed upon term determined by the parties at the time of the court order. Plus, I want to see attorneys required to inform clients that the court cannot order a parenting consultant if a party does not agree to have one. That does not happen very often.
I do have some things coming that I think will help the situation. I am just not at the point where I can make my announcements yet. Just know that some things are coming…soon.
Watch the news video and let me know what you think. Did this new story help to raise awareness?