Mediation: Parenting Plans

Marital resentments from the past – such as, who caused the separation and/or divorce; who left and why; hurt and anger regarding the other man/woman; disappointment; the desire to reconcile — all have nothing to do with the children and need to be dealt with separately.  Mixing past marital issues with present parenting issues is a loosing proposition all the way around.

If parents can focus on dealing with the child’s needs for the child’s sake, there is more satisfaction for all involved.  These include, but are not limited to:  who will supply those needs, special problems, parents’ and children’s schedules, medical appointments, classes, recreational activities, and future plans.

The following 4-step process can help parents leave their past resentments behind:

  1. Acknowledge your role, the part you played in creating at least some of the problems you have had, or are currently having, with the other parent.
  2. Accept responsibility, without blaming yourself or the other parent, for what you did.
  3. Devise a plan and correct the situation through changes in your attitude and behavior.
  4. Apply your plan over time without falling back into old patterns of behavior.

The theory is:  once both parents accept their role in the problem, they places less blame on each other, progress is made to change behavior, and a healthy co-parenting relationship is established.  This is what children ultimately need to feel safe, loved, and secure.

Source:  Bienenfeld, F., Williams, F., Helping Your Child Through Your Divorce.  (1995).  Hunter House Books. Alameda, CA

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