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Thoughts From High Conflict U

As someone who has been working for almost 20 years to help parents navigate the very choppy waters of family court, I get a fair amount of calls and emails from parents who feel overwhelmed with how off track their case has become. High conflict cases snowball into unimagineable craziness and parents desperately want […]

via Who Do You Recommend for a Parenting Coordinator or Consultant? — High Conflict U

Free E-Course: Parenting Time Expediter vs Parenting Consultant-What’s the Difference

 

Life’s Doors Mediation is partnered with Discover Your Piece.  We are working together to make things better for divorced parents everywhere.  I am sharing something new and exciting with you and I hope you will give it a try.  Check out Discover Your Piece and their education site for High Conflict parents, High Conflict U!

High Conflict U   offers a free e-course to learn everything you wanted to know about parenting time expeditors ( a role exclusive to the state of Minnesota ) and Parenting Consultant/Coordinators.  Enroll now to learn about these important roles for your family.

Where is Your Focus?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As a Life and Divorce coach, I am sometimes misunderstood and misinterpreted.  Over the years, I brought myself out of a deep dark place and into a life of joy and happiness.  I have successfully shown many others how to turn their backs on the darkness and move into their own piece of happiness, focusing on finding their way to the life they dream of.  I’ve been able to help many people, but not everyone.  Some people want to stay stuck.  If an individual wants to stay stuck in something bad, there is nothing I can do.  There is also nothing a psychologist, lawyer, or judge can do either.  They may try, but ultimately they will have to leave you behind and move onto the people who will work with them to get where they want to be.

I work mostly with people in the Family Court System.  These are parents who find themselves in a high conflict divorce situation, getting beaten to a pulp (legally) by the confounding judge, who is unable to understand what the heck it is that drives you to do the things you do.

I understand domestic violence.  I understand parental alienation (which is not the same as Parental Alienation Syndrome).  I understand Domestic Violence Organizations.  I understand Father’s Rights Groups. I understand the parent who lives under a microscope for years.  I understand the legal community.  I understand the psychologists.  I understand a lot of what happens in Family Court.  I understand how people got into the mess they have gotten themselves into.  Understanding all these things does not mean that I want you to focus on them.

I can lose someone’s attention and respect when I tell them that they and their attorney are putting too much emphasis on domestic violence in their family court case.  I also anger people when I tell them that parental alienation syndrome is not real.  That statement can be confused with not believing that parental alienation happens.  I know it happens.  I have even experienced it for myself.  It happened to my youngest son and I, at the hands of a manipulative father, but my son and I are closer than ever now because I always trusted him to know truth and to figure out what was happening.  I did what I could, left alone what I could not do, and put my energy into waiting for my son to be ready to restore our relationship.  I had faith that I had raised him in a way in which he would see truth, and now, we are closer than ever.

It was a long way from being blind sided by the nastiness of Family Court to getting to where I am today.

More than believing in parental alienation, I believe that co-dependence and Legal Abuse Syndrome are likely driving the on-going family court nightmares.  A good psychologist should tell you that as long as there is one strong parent, your child can overcome the trauma, regardless of what your ex throws at you.  I have seen this to be true.  In my own case, I stopped being the victim of domestic violence and stopped adding to the drama.  I wanted a better life for my children and myself.  That meant that I would have to pull myself up by my bootstraps, get healthy, and work with the professionals in the Family Court System on their level.  They were not going to listen to me if I only spoke to them when I was at the point of hysterics.  I was never heard when I screamed and swore at them, and you won’t get far with that either.  They were not going to allow me to educate them.  These were educated professionals and if I was so smart, how come I couldn’t put an end to this conflict in my family?  Why did they have to make decisions about my children?  They could not understand and I could not make them understand.  I found them to be obstacles to moving on with my life.  They were also, definitely,  hindering my children’s development.  I found that they were not the answer and they should not be my focus.  Instead, my focus should be on myself, and my children.  That is when I began to turn that ship around, and in doing so, I freed myself and my children of those professionals forever.  No more obstacles.  No more hindrances.

This is what I do for my clients as well.  Please don’t think that this can happen overnight.  It is a process.  I help my clients through that process, too.  Not every consult turns into a client though.  Some people think I am nuts and they never come back.  They do not want to give up that crutch of family court.  That is sad because most people come to me due to their frustration with how the Family Court is not helping the situation, but is instead, making it much, much worse and they don’t want to refocus there energy anywhere else.  It is a lot of work, and it is painful and ugly to peel back the layers of you, and so some people cannot stomach it.

Think about this for a minute.  Maybe it will make sense to you and maybe it won’t.  I can only put it out there and hope that you can make some sense out of it.  When you are a victim of domestic violence and look to the family court to help you with it, that is your focus.  If you keep focusing there, and seek professionals who will understand, that focus is taking your time, energy and money away from having the life you want.  You may think that you cannot have the life you want, but I am sorry to tell you, it is not true.  You are the one keeping your life and your children’s lives in the family court.  Your ex may stay there, and he or she may use it against you, but if you really get yourself strong, stay confident in your truths, and put your focus outside of the court, you will see miracles happen.  The people I see who beat this system at its own game, refocus on their life and their children and slowly shift their thoughts and energies away from their nasty ex and the nasty court people, are the ones who succeed in getting their story told.  The people who latch on to their domestic violence experience or try to expose parental alienation will find that  they ramp up the conflict, get more deeply embedded in the Family Court System, and feel more and more stuck over time.  I am not saying that domestic violence or parental alienation should be tolerated or ignored.  I am not saying that at all.  What I am saying is you cannot push those memes the entire time because there are only certain ways to successfully use those arguments in family court.

Not everything involved with the conflict is related to domestic abuse or parental alienation.  Some things are communication issues and related to how you speak to or correspond with you ex.  Some issues are related to those Mars-Venus, male-female issues, too.  Some issues have to do with the stage of development your child is in, as well, and so you need to really consider what is driving the conflict for each particular issue that arises.  You cannot blame everything on domestic violence or parental alienation because the professionals don’t always have any recourse.

This post may anger some people and intrigue others.  It’s hard to really explain it all in one blog post!  If you are interested in finding out how to free yourself of the family court, as much as possible, please contact me.  I’d love to consult with you to tell you more.  There is nothing more rewarding for me than to see a client who grasps these concepts and takes back their life!

Embattled Parents Wanted

Image courtesy of sakhorn38 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of sakhorn38 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you had your fill of Family Court?  Are you tired of the battle, and think or hope that your ex is sick of it, too?

 

Life’s Doors Mediation is looking for parents who have been at war for too long and want to find a new way to parent, whether that means co-parenting, parallel parenting, or something else that we come up with.  I have been quite successful in changing the direction of parents who are looking to the family court for answers.  I’d like to help you.

If you live in Minnesota, please give me a call.  The first 2 parents who call me will get a free assessment to see if we can make a positive change to your situation.  I will even contact your ex to see if they would be willing to call a truce.  After that, I will work with you separately or together, as needed without charge. You have nothing to lose, but a lot to gain.  Your children have a lot to gain also.

Can you be a little vulnerable and let go of the family court crutch?  Find out today, 763-566-2282.  You can also email me at susan@lifesdoorsmediation.com.

 

Do You Recommend Your Parenting Consultant or PTE?


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 Consultant Nightmare”

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 the website.  Many clients tell me they want me to offer those services because I “get it”.  Still, if I am their coach, I cannot be their PC.  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 friend 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.

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:

www.mnparent.org

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!

Everything You Wanted to Know About Parenting Consultants/Coordinators, but were Afraid to Ask


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Ever thought you might need to get a parenting consultant or parenting coordinator appointed to your high conflict custody case?  Do you wonder what a parenting consultant or coordinator is?  What they do?  Would you like to hear from people with first hand experience in utilizing someone in the role of PC?  How much do parenting consultants charge?  Can you get rid of a parenting consultant?  Why does the parenting consultant hate me?

All this and more can be answered if you attend my web even Q & A about parenting consultants and coordinators.  If you have read my blog and considered  conflict coaching, but were a little leery of this person who also offers services as a parenting consultant, now is your chance to check me out.  At a cost of only $10, you can get a sample of what I offer to my coaching clients.  Many of my clients deal with a parenting consultant or parenting coordinator and have learned how to turn things around.  If you were to spend 3 hours coaching, you’d pay $150, which is still a great deal.  Consider how much a retainer for a lawyer might cost, or how much a day in court will cost you?  Maybe coaching can help, and save you money in the process.  But on January 11th at 10 AM, you have a chance to ask your most pressing question about parenting consultants/parenting coordinators and you can also hear questions from the other participants, too.

I have scheduled this event for 3 hours so that every participant should have time to ask a question or make a comment.  If by chance, we run out of time, I will have a way for you to ask a question behind the scenes.

I hope you’ll join me for the first Q & A about parenting consultants/parenting coordinators.  Remember, I also have a book out called, “The Parenting Consultant Nightmare” so it is fair for me to say I wrote the book.  I have utilized a parenting consultant with my own family and have trained as a pc who tries to do it better.  Let me know if this is something you’d like to see offered on going, or make suggestions for future web events from Life’s doors Mediation by sending an email to susan@lifesdoorsmediation.com.

Buy your ticket now!

Life’s Doors Mediation Now Serving Parenting Consultants and Coordinators!

Who knew?  I am the person who says, parenting consultants?  Just say no!  I think it is a horrible process that takes legal custody away from parents and gives it to a stranger.  That is what happens when you invite a parenting consultant into your family life, they make the decisions that parents can’t or won’t.  But you do not know that is what happens until you start working with a PC.

Because of this, I have spent most of my time in business trying to help people see what parenting consultants or coordinators do.  I have used my knowledge and experience to open eyes.  Now more parents are aware of the problems with parenting consultants and either steer clear of them or work with them very cautiously.

I am also teaching the High Conflict Diversion Program started by Brook Olsen in California.  I have been working hard to bring that program to Minnesota and divert parents out of the family court system and learning new ways to communicate and parent their childen in the midst of a hostile co-parenting situation.  However, none of it has been enough.

Even though I help parents see certain realities about family court and to parent with a horrible situation, I have come to realize that I am preaching to the choir.  You guys are very trainable.  You want better lives and you want your children out of the court situation as much as possible and when I work with you, most of you do not hesitate in making changes that will make your life, and the lives of your children, better.  I stick up for you all over the place because when some court authority says, “Oh, those people are all crazy!”, I know you are NOT crazy.  I know that you are NOT bad parents and you DON’T deserve to lose custody.  I know that you are making the best of a very bad, highly stressful, situation that you were not in any way prepared to deal with, and I know it is not fair for me to work with you and not work with the court professionals on your case.

When I first trained as a mediator, one of my first thoughts was, hey, maybe I can be a mediator between parents and parenting consultants or coordinators.  Unfortunately, the professionals would never do that.  So again, I know that you are willing to come to the table for a fresh start after learning some things about the process, but I am doubtful that any court professionals would.  So I made a decision for what my next step would be.

I am going to start training parenting consultants and coordinators.  How helpful am I when I am teaching you knew ways to cope with a hostile co-parenting situation, yet your parenting consultant punishes you for putting those new tools into action?  It is not very helpful at all.

With the connections I have now, I realized that I can set up a training for them and help the court professionals gain some insight into you and how you tick and why the tools I give you have to have the blessings of the PCs.  So I am prepared to teach them why these tools help the children and why they should encourage you in your efforts to approach high conflict co-parenting in a different way.  I will be calling on a couple of other groups who want to teach these court professionals about abuse and how to support parents.  I am very excited to reach out to these professionals.

What can you do to help?  As always, you need to tread carefully with any court authority on your case.  It is best not to tell them to take my training or to read something I wrote.  They do not take too kindly to that advice and will go out of their way to avoid it, especially if one of those “crazy parents” gave the information to them.  Instead, what I’d like you to do, if you know of a court authority who could benefit from my training, send me their contact info and why you think they need to attend the training, and I will add them to the email or mailing list and they can get the information with everyone else.  So please let me know who to include on my list by contacting me, and check out my new court consulting web page.

And, as always, if you are stuck in a difficult co-parenting or PC situation, contact me or sign up for the High Conflict Diversion program.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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