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Separation: Who do you see?
is a dynamic that naturally evolves when parents only see
lawyers to determine
their ongoing relationship to children, post separation or
of the disposition of the lawyer, on the mind of the parent,
is winning or
coming away with a particular outcome. The parent races to
stake a claim. The
parent meets the lawyer, states his or her case, convinces the
lawyer of the
righteousness of the claim and thus retains the lawyer to
fight the battle.
one parent has staked a claim and begun battle the other
parent will naturally
defend him or herself. Given that most people view the best
defense as a good
offence, the other parent has to stake a bigger claim. In the
parent resorts to assailing the other while holding his or
herself out as the
better parent. The fight is on and hopes fade.
are experts at law. Some are also experts at negotiation.
Certainly others are
expert at litigation. However, from a child’s view,
relationships with their
parents are generally non-negotiable. From the child’s view
feeling their relationships are threatened, their goal is to
remain intact; that neither parent hurts the other; and that
they can enjoy
their lives reasonably with both parents with as little
disruption as possible.
more involved parents are in battle and the more hurt they
are, the greater the
likelihood the children’s lives are emotionally and
The more disrupted their lives, the more difficult it is for
them to get on with
the tasks of childhood, learning and socialization. Therefore,
the greater the
parental conflict, the greater the risk of school and social
childhood is the time of life for the development of cognitive
and social skills
necessary for adult life, those children whose learning and
disrupted are then also at greater risk of problems in
adulthood, not having
acquired the necessary skills during childhood.
parents are encouraged to see a social worker or attend
aimed at helping them understand issues related to settling
Interestingly, some jurisdictions require parents involved in
and access matters to attend such programs.
objective in meeting with a social worker or attending a
program is to minimize
the risk of conflict by learning about of the consequences of
various courses of
action and by learning about the range of alternatives for
life, children’s time between parents and processes for
decision making. The
goal is to resolve matters more amicably, thus alleviating
stressors on the
child to provide for better psychosocial outcomes.
the fact that early childhood educators and teachers don’t
want children to
fight their battles in the sandbox. They want them to learn to
get along and
play nicely. This is what children learn and what they expect
to see in their
parents. When parents do otherwise, their influence will
outweigh the early
childhood educators and teachers. Children will learn to
battle and fight,
particularly with loved ones and peers, as that will be their
problems require expertise with social solutions. Use your
social worker or
educational program to learn and develop a parenting plan that
while leaving relationships intact. Use your lawyer to write
up the terms of
your agreement if necessary or to understand rights and
matters continue to be contested, your lawyer can help you
with the legal
Social workers, programs and lawyers each have a role. Use them all wisely and appropriately.
Still fighting child custody issues? Use this:
Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
For information on Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane, click here.
20 Suter Crescent, Dundas, ON, Canada L9H 6R5 Tel: (905) 628-4847 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org