Parenting Matters - What to Think About


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Parenting Matters - What to Think About

What Should You Think About During Your Parenting Dispute?

We come across many people in dispute about the best parenting outcomes for their children after separation.

If we could encourage our own clients and the other parties to the dispute to do one thing, it would be to take time to pause and think about four key features in order to try and reach a negotiated resolution on disputed issues and think carefully when dealing with the other parent after their case resolves and they are working together as separated parents for the good of their children.

These are:

  1. Adopt flexible thinking….because it is entirely foreseeable that there is more than one solution to every problem. Have the party and the lawyer take some time to focus on making or couching proposals in a manner which might be viewed positively by the other parent.
  2. Manage your emotions and work towards communicating with the other party in a way which is designed (as best possible) to avoid causing an objective emotional response in the other part – meaning use respectful communications, focused, direct and reasoned language.
  3. Adopt moderate behaviour…accepting and understanding that extreme actions which cause upset and conflict are likely to result in responsive poor conduct or retaliation by the other parent.
  4. Check and double check your approach/position…remind yourself to continue using this skill whenever you are negotiating an outcome or when making parenting decisions in a situation where the children enjoy a relationship with both parents or you have a co-parenting outcome in place. Typically, apply the “how would I feel if this was presented to me in this way?” approach before you act or press “send”.
    Often, we see that when one person adopts an approach which stimulates goodwill, it is responded to in kind and represents the first steps towards transitioning to a good and working parental relationship into the future.

Of course, if children are “at risk”, a different set of principles apply.

Feel free to discuss this sort of approach with your lawyer – we are of the view that children benefit in the long term if there is more forethought and consideration/reflection.