Divorce can be traumatic for the entire family. Those families that find themselves in court over and over again fighting over their Parenting Plan find divorce especially traumatic. A Parenting Coordinator can help!
11 reasons why you need a Parenting Coordinator
1. Reduce your legal fees.
Litigation can be EXPENSIVE and it takes the money you could be spending on building memories with your kids and gives it to attorneys. There are times it is important to fight for the safety and well being of your children. But most of my work as a Co-parenting Counselor is helping reduce coparent’s anxiety, because their children are no longer in their control when they go to their coparent’s house. Helping coparents learn how to manage their anxiety as well as their disputes is at the heart of Parenting Coordination.
2. Reduce the stress on the children
I work with kids of divorce and let me say this, the anxiety they feel over their parent’s constant conflict is…devastating. They overhear conversations, see a parent crying or mad after they get off the phone with the other parent, and feel completely powerless. A PC can come in and help with this conflict. I often have my coparents bring a picture of their child(ren) to the session and we put it on the coffee table. I tell the parents – “They are my clients”. This picture can often ground parents as to what their true desire is.
3. Enjoy quality time with the children
Learning how to let go of bitterness and deal with difficult feelings are hard lessons, but it is necessary for you to enjoy time with your children instead of scheming and coming up with ways to harm your coparent. A Parenting Coordinator can recommend a therapist so you can begin working through your feelings of divorce, or give you skills to let go of your bitterness, so you can begin having quality time with your kids again.
4. Model positive behavior of dealing with difficult situations
We tell our children to fight fair and be kind, yet when coparents get divorced all that gets thrown out the window. You are modeling for your kids how you want them to handle conflict. Your divorce can either cause trauma or be a transition to something new. But it is your choice. A Parenting Coordinator can remind you that modeling good behavior for your children is something all parents strive to do.
5. Keep the bonds your children have with extended family
Kids need their relationships with aunts, uncles, and grandparents to continue. Extended family helps kids feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves. Of course, if the extended family is going to bad mouth your coparent or you, this harms children tremendously. Extended family need to understand when you put down a child’s parent, you are essentially putting down half of your child. Strong boundaries need to be created with the extended family that no one is allowed to put down the child’s parents.
6. Being in a therapeutic environment instead of a courtroom
Going to court can automatically increase stress and bitterness, and often coparents are working with attorneys that want to win. Meeting in a therapeutic environment with a Parenting Coordinator instead of a courtroom can begin to ease tension and anxiety and put coparents in a place where they are open to compromise and deal with their feelings.
7. Reduce your stress
As a Co-Parenting Counselor, one thing we always recommend is parent’s taking care of themselves. Getting your conflict worked out with a coparent can reduce your stress and help you carry on with your life. Counselors often preach to parents that to take care of kids, they have to take care of themselves first. If you are on an airplane that is going down and the oxygen masks drop, WHO does the flight attendant tell you to help first? Yourself! Then help your child. Going to court constantly increases your stress, which increases the stress on children.
8. Reduce the loyalty binds the children feel
Children are caught in the middle of these conflicts and unsure of what side to take. If they tell mom this, she will get mad. Dad wants the child to report what he/she has witnessed at mom’s house. The child is caught. If she tells exactly what she sees, it could send them back to court. Often kids of divorce feel powerless and learn how to tell parents what they want to hear. They get very good at manipulation and using this conflict to their advantage. The more coparents get on the same page with co-parenting they are able to check in with one another to see if what little Susie is really telling them is the truth or does little Susie have something to gain by not being truthful.
9. Increase the likelihood that both parents will stay active in the child’s life
With constant conflict, parents eventually shut down all communication and only communicate through attorneys. This really hurts the kids. Eventually, one parent may become so tired of fighting that they give up trying to have a relationship with the kids. Coparents learning how to compromise and work through their problems means that two parents will actively participate in their children’s lives forever. Research says this is the best model for kids of divorce.
10. Provides the Court with a comprehensive picture of the family
The PC can be the eyes and ears for the Court. Attorneys can only give a limited picture of the family. A PC (as long as the Court Order says) can talk with teachers, extended family, medical professions, therapists, and anyone else that could help give a FULL picture into this family. Attorneys do not have time to do this kind of work. This fuller, more comprehensive, picture can assist the Court in making better decisions for the well-being of the children.
11. Provides faster resolution to daily childcare issues
Raising children takes time and patience. Often child rearing issues come up and a decision needs to be made quickly. Attorneys are busy and cannot respond at a moment’s notice and often have to make a phone call to another attorney or file a motion. Meanwhile, the anxiety of the parents’ and the child(ren) increase while they wait for the legal professionals to work out their childcare issues. A PC can frequently get on the phone and help mediate the dispute. This saves time, money, and emotional stress.
Divorce doesn’t have to be bitter and contentious. There are professionals that are trained to help parents learn better ways to cope with the transition of divorce. If you need a Parenting Coordinator email Sara at email@example.com to set up an appointment. Sara is located in Birmingham, AL.
Sara Dungan, MEd, ALC, NCC, MFTA, Certified Parenting Coordinator, Divorce and Family Mediator (Domestic Violence Trained) has her private practice called Sparrow Counseling in Birmingham, AL. She specializes in Parenting Coordination, Co-Parenting Counseling and Divorce and Family Mediation. Her passion is helping parents learn how to become successful coparents, so their children can thrive after their divorce. Contact Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sara is an Associate Licensed Counselor (ALC) and an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist under the supervision of H. Hobart (Bart) Grooms, M. Div, MEd, LPC-S, LMFT-S, Supervising Counselor.