Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
When I created my first website, I had a page called, “Rate Your PC”. My plan was to collect information on all Parenting Consultants in Minnesota so we could find out if there were any good ones, and keep the good ones in business while weeding out the bad ones. At the time, my attitude about being a PC was, “Hell NO!” I NEVER wanted to inflict that kind of damage on a family. Period.
After working as a coach, it turned out that most of my clients came to me for help dealing with their parenting consultant and hostile co-parent. I blogged about PCs and people would find me because of that. After a while, I decided that I really needed to write a book because all of the questions were the same: “How do you get rid of a parenting consultant (coordinator)?” “Why won’t they do something about my ex?” “How did I become the bad guy in all of this?” “Can you file a complaint against a PC?” All of these questions and more are covered in my book, “The Parenting Coordinator and Consultant Survival Guide”
As part of my research for the book, I attending the training to be a Parenting Consultant. Don’t think for a moment that my stomach wasn’t queasy. It was. I attended the Parenting Time expediter training as well, even though it was facilitated by my former PTE and PC. I think she was much more intimidated than I was. Because the training was pretty good, I did decide to offer these services. It’s something I struggle with all the time. Is it the right thing to do? If you have any feedback on the question, I hope you’ll either comment after the post, or send in a contact form through my website. Many clients tell me they want me to offer those services because I “get it”, but if I am their coach, I cannot be their PC. I think parents greatly benefit more from coaching than PC work. So keep that in mind. Anyway, having attended the training, and offering PC services, made me rethink that “Rate your PC” page. Not because I felt hypocritical in collecting the data, and not because I have become “one of them”, but because I realized it was not giving me what I was looking for.
Being a support person to parents who deal with high conflict co-parenting situations is not easy. I can help you with many things, and I have succeeded in empowering people into making the system work better for them, but I cannot make the situation go away completely. If you have a co-parent who is always on the attack, they are going to stay on the attack. However, if you are empowered, their interest in you tends to decrease significantly. The less reactive you are, the less they continue to try. So I have had to rethink and shift gears as I learn more about the issue from the viewpoint of the parenting consultants or parenting coordinators, and what works for you and what doesn’t and have changed my approach somewhat. I decided to stop collecting that data and had good reasons to stop collecting it.
One reason was that I did not get any good reviews. If anyone has had a parenting consultant or parent coordinator on your case, that makes sense. You would not expect to find anyone who knows how to manage these high conflict cases. But are there really no good ones? Typically, people are willing to take time reporting a negative, but rarely will report a positive. I’d like to find out there are some good ones available, but it did not look like anyone would let me know that aspect of the role.
Another reason I quit collecting data is because people are afraid. They are not going to turn in that information unless they know me and trust me. Let’s face it, those of you in high conflict cases involving a PC just do not trust anyone. You end up wondering where the information goes and who does it go to and worry that you may not stay anonymous? My clients do learn they can trust me, and that I am not “one of them (PCs)” so through my daily work I can learn who the good and bad PCs are. Again, no good PCs to report, but if you had someone who actually decreased the conflict, why would you be looking for a website, blog or coach to tell that story to? Most likely, you would just go about living life, quite happily, I might add. I still like to hold out hope that there are some out there.
Since I no longer collect information about PCs, I want to share with you a website where you can write a review of your parenting consultant, parenting coordinator or parenting time expediter. It has been around for a while, but the owner of the site is not really going through those court issues anymore, from what I understand, and so I don’t think the owner does much with the site anymore. That makes it harder to find when searching on the internet. You can help move it up in the searches by adding reviews. The reviews are listed as a Parenting Time Expediter directory, but most PTEs also work as PCs.
For anyone who wants to write a review of their court professional, please do so on that directory site. I think it would be an excellent resource for parents who need to choose a PC or PTE, whether the first time appointing one, or if the old one has left the case and they need to appoint someone new. If you have anyone to report on, please do it at:
I hope that we can raise awareness about that site so that people can come away with options for who to appoint and not to appoint. Remember, it is important to share who the good guys are. It’s not just about the bad guys!
UPDATE 2019: Unfortunately, mnparent.org is no longer operational. The parent who ran that site no longer deals with family court because his child is grown. If I find another or if you one of you decides to start a review site, please comment and I will update this post with the information.
One caution on review sites: If you do not understand the role of a parenting consultant (or parent coordinator, as they are called in other states), you may be creating a hellish situation for yourself or having unrealistic expectations. No PC is a miracle worker. We cannot change people, especially those coming to the process in bad faith. The role is not an easy one, but it can help parents who understand the purpose and power of a parenting consultant (or coordinator). Remember, help is available for that. You can contact me or the good folks at High Conflict Central.