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Let the Baby Sleep with Peace

They were both born into trauma.

Their respective parents fought.

The parents also disparaged each other. It spilled onto the kids.

They both survived the turmoil adopting different strategies.

One took to fight and the other flight..

They met when young and fell in love.

A child was born.

Their stresses grew. Their love waned.

One withdraws, the other chases.

Each blames the other.

One is intimidating, the other intimidated.

One lies to avoid more turmoil. Meaningless issues.

The other snaps upon discoveries.

I meet with them together.

Neither knows much of each other’s past.

Neither knows much of the impacts of prior family turmoil.

Neither can believe how divergent their survival strategies are.

Survival strategies crucial to childhood, dysfunctional come adulthood.

One has become like a sparrow, timid and avoidant.

The other like a bear after hibernation. Quick to snap and on the look out.

Both strategies to survive tumultuous beginnings,

Now interfering with adult intimate life.

Both must talk hold of new learning.

Learning is uncomfortable, foreign.

No faith, no trust… Practice anyway.

Locked in old ways.

Blame.

Learning is blocked.

More meetings.

Be aware the bear. Be aware the sparrow.

Learn to approach so as not to provoke.

If mad be mad for a past ill equipping the future, but come to now.

You are here.

Things change.

Risk doing differently.

Adopting new strategies.

Life improves.

The baby sleeps nights now.


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I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue. I am available in person and by Skype.

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships.

10 Rules for Dealing with a Difficult Co-Parent

  1. Be nice. As irresistible as it may be to discharge your anger, be nice.
  2. Don’t expect anything in return.
  3. Tell your child good things about the other parent.
  4. Return items that are sent along with your child. If you lose an item, buy another to return.
  5. Be on time.
  6. Notify your ex of any medical, health or emergency issue as soon as possible.
  7. Share information about school freely and quickly.
  8. Do not badmouth your ex to other people – friends or family.
  9. Manage finances as agreed upon.
  10. Notify your ex of any intended changes to the residential schedule.
  11. If going on a holiday, advise your ex of your itinerary and means of contact.
  12. If of different faiths or cultures, be respectful of your differences.
  13. When communicating, do not raise your voice. Remain calm and only use language you would use in public.
  14. Share information about appointments affecting your child.
  15. Do not let other people, friends or family badmouth the other parent when your child is within hearing range.
  16. Tell the other parent about particular accomplishments during your own time with your child.

OK that was more than ten. I just couldn’t resist once I was on a roll.Of course you don’t have to do any of these, but do consider how this may affect the well being of your child.

Please comment and indicate what additional rules you could add!

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue. I am available in person and by Skype.

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

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Linked In
Twitter

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships.

Drive Your Ex Nuts and Improve Your Position for Court at the Same Time

Former couples who have it in for each other find a million ways to fight about their kids. They are forever sending nasty hate messages filled with innuendo about how awful the other is and how much better they are.

Even little issue can be magnified to give the impression that the other is just terrible as a parent and doesn’t deserve their relationship with the kids. Both can unleash a torrent of messages each thinking they are not only getting the other  back, but somehow proving who is the worse parent while all the while trying to elevate themselves.

A wise woman once told me, when you get in the mud with the other pigs, we can’t tell the pigs apart.

Think about that in the context of a court battle over your kids. When things eventually go before a judge, will the judge be able to tell the parents apart? Will the judge be able to say who is the better parent? From the judges perspective, there will  only be evidence of a nasty ongoing relationship where both parents trash the other to the detriment of the children. The judge will know that your kids are being raised in the mud of the parenting relationship. How does one choose the better parent in that?

If you really want to get back at your ex, do the unexpected. Really mess with their mind…

You start by sending texts informing them of the child’s accomplishments that day. You start the message by saying something like, “Just thought you would appreciate knowing Billy enjoyed reading the book you sent.”

It will drive your ex nuts. Your ex will wonder what you are up to. Your ex will find a way to message you back and wonder why you are sending this. When the child returns to the other parent, that parent may even question the child if the book was actually read. After all, at least one parent directly or indirectly pumps the kid for information. Can you imagine if the child actually said, “Yes, [the other parent] read me the book you sent and said you were nice for sending it.” Yup. that will really mess with their mind!

After you start your campaign of niceness, continue by then thanking your ex where clothes, toys or other items are returned with the child. Then if you really want to ramp up the good vibes, totally ignore your ex’s behavior that really annoy you. Don’t give your ex the benefit of knowing when you have been triggered. That will really drive your ex nuts.

Bear in mind, that as you do this, you are now setting the bar for reasonable behavior. Your good behavior will only serve to heighten how nasty the behavior of your ex really is. By no longer lingering in the mud along with your ex, you will have cleaned yourself up, leaving your ex to wear their own dirt. Now we really can tell the parents apart!

In so doing, your ex is presented with two options without you ever really making any demands. Your ex can either belly up and engage in similar nice behavior, lest they look the nasty parent, or they continue in which case their behavior stands out and makes your case at court.

Either way, you win.

Oh, and by the way, your child just may like your change in disposition and may more naturally gravitate to your company. To add, if your ex does belly up and match your behavior, then that court case may no longer even be necessary. Then everyone wins and your kid can get on with a very pleasant life.

Just sayin’.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue. I am available in person and by Skype.

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

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Twitter

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships.

All parents should be informed: Do You Know What’s Going on in Your Student’s Classroom?

When an Educational Assistant gets injured, odds are it was witnessed by multiple students. What are students seeing and experiencing in today’s classroom? Beyond the violence, what else is affecting students in the classroom? Here is what EAs want all parents to know:

Unbeknownst to the public, Educational Assistants (EAs) suffer the greatest number of lost time injuries (LTIs) out of the top ten occupations were injuries are sustained. An LTI is a workplace injury that results in a loss of time from the workplace. As you can imagine that means the injury has to be significant enough so as to take the worker out of the workplace. The length of time out of the workplace can be as little as a day up to including those persons who would qualify for long term disability. In other words, these are not simple bruises or scrapes.

Picture1

In addition to LTIs, Educations Assistants work with students whose issues are often less academic and more often behavioral. In terms of behavior, EAs are routinely assaulted, spit at, hit, pinched and bitten. They have to deal with bodily fluids, most often urine and feces. Many EAs must wear “Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to remain safe while working in close proximity to the student under their instruction.

PPE (personal protection equipment) for support workers in education has included, but is certainly not limited to, gloves, arm guards, and shin guards—all to protect from pinching, scratches, punches, kicks and biting. Chest protectors of different materials are used to protect workers from kicks, bites, punches, and scratches to the trunk of the body. Smocks protect from bodily fluids, and helmets are sometimes used to protect from punches, head butting and hair pulls. There are also facial masks to protect workers from being spat upon, punched in the face, scratched or bitten. The use of PPE is covered in the Ontario Health and Safety Act under the Health Care and Residential Facilities and Industries section, but not specifically for education workers.

Source: http://education-forum.ca/2016/05/03/protecting-ourselves-at-school/

During a workshop to EAs in 2016, the EAs in attendance identified those issues as well as several more. In a more recent keynote address to some 800 EAs of the Educational Assistant Association of the Waterloo Region District School Board, a show of hands poll indicated that some 90% of those in attendance also experienced the issues identified the year prior by the first group.

Common to an overwhelming majority of EAs, on both occasions concern was expressed for the impact of those issues not only on the students served by EAs, but on the other students whose education takes place in the same classrooms as is common practice.

EAs identified concern for students not only witnessing regularly occurring acts of violence in the classroom, but concern for the physical harm that could befall the student during a violent outburst by a student with behavioral issues.

The issues identified seem to remain a well kept secret. Neither the parents of the students served by EAs nor the parents of the other students in the classroom are all aware of these situations. To add, there is tremendous stress on the EAs themselves the result of these situations.

It is advisable for all parents to know the issues identified by EAs and it is also important for EAs to develop the skills of self-advocacy.

The issues identified at an alarming number were:

  1. EAs have limited to no prior background information about the students assigned to their supervision;

Some students receiving EA services have considerable background issues and diagnosis where access to that information can facilitate the role of the EA. EAs are regularly told they cannot have access to that information leaving many feeling they are flying blind or trying to be supportive with one hand tied behind their back. While there are many reasons as to how or why this occurs, it may indeed be shortsighted from a student support perspective. It may also place the EA at risk of harm when a student with a propensity to violence is unidentified. In addition to being an educational issue, it may also be a health and safety issue.

  1. EAs have limited to no collaborative involvement with fellow EAs or other teaching staff assigned to the same students, but working in other classrooms;

EAs in the high school setting may work with several different students throughout the course of the day as the students rotate through their various classes. This also means that the same student, who is assigned the services of an EA, may be subject to the service of 4 or 5 different EAs throughout the day. If the EAs and teaching staff or special education staff do not conference together and form a unified educational plan and behavioral approach, then the likelihood of success may be diminished. EAs expressed a desire for greater collaboration to enable better coordinated educational and behavioral plans where all their input can be utilized to the benefit of the student.

  1. EAs identified that students who have extra funding for added support are in part having their funding used to provide support to other students;

Several EAs reported that some students present with greater needs than others. In those situations additional funding may be directed specifically towards a single student. However, given other funding constraints, the funding directed to the single individual is at times used to support the needs of other students. This undermines the intent of funding the student who was requiring of this additional support.

  1. EAs identify a heavy administrative burden without the infrastructure to carry out those duties;

Not uncommon in today’s world of increased accountability, reporting obligations have increased in many institutional setting. EAs report that while reporting obligations have increased, the time to meet those obligations has remained the same. This creates a conflict of time impossible for the EA to resolve. This creates an added layer of stress and anxiety as the EA seeks to be accountable and of service to students.

In terms of self-advocacy, EAs are advised to;

  1. Document their requests to attend educational planning meeting regarding the students under their supervision;
  2. Document any requests to alter or restrict their official documentation of incidents or injuries;
  3. Approach administration with solutions to issues identified;
  4. Speak out about their experiences using social media to directly inform parents and the general public about these issues affecting all students in the classroom today.

As parents, what do you do?

  1. Talk with your son or daughter.
  2. Ask about their experience in the classroom, beyond their homework.
  3. Ask what goes on and if they have ever witnessed a student acting out. If so, get them to describe what they saw.
  4. If your son or daughter ever witnessed an act of violence or serious behavioral acting out, ask if it frightened them and if anyone ever talked with them about it.
  5. Advocate for more funding and better resources to meet the needs of students with special needs.

These days, the place we believe our children to be most safe from harm, may be the place where they actually witness the greatest number of violent events.

Please note, this is not to cast any disrespect or disregard for students who require additional services. It is just that the question must be asked, “Are those students appropriately resourced and if not, how does that affect all students?” This is an issue for all parents.

Schools need to be appropriately resourced for the benefit of all students as well as worker safety.

If you want other parents to read this post, then “share” it on your social media with the links below and leave a comment informing them of your thoughts on this issue.

For more information about the above, feel free to access the following material:

PowerPoint presentation for my Keynote address the Educational Assistant Association of the Waterloo Region District School Board (April 7, 2017): Self Advocacy and Personal Wellness

Blog post of February 2, 2016 describing my workshop to EAs.

A transcript of an appeal report of a decision made by the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

Consistent with this blog, this news article.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue. I am available in person and by Skype.

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

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Twitter

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships.

Help for Child Contact Refusal Problems Between Separated Parents

It is not uncommon for me to receive brief to lengthy emails or messages describing a child’s contact refusal between separated parents. The communication may come from the parent whose refusing to be seen by a child and the communication may come from the parent seeking to support a child in not seeing the other parent. In other words, I receive communications from parents on both sides of the problem.

In both cases the communication contains a one-sided account of the problem where blame is always ascribed to the other parent. The person sending me the communication is looking for advice on how to change or handle the other parent as the source of the problem. The communication is always convincing no matter which side and always contains information to demonstrate the veracity of any claim made against the other parent. The person is seeking support for their version of the problem.

Imagine receiving such communications from the parents of the same child. To read the communications one would have to believe they came from totally unrelated cases. Would either parent want me to send a supportive email advising on how to handle the matter to the other parent? Imagine how that would play out for the child and the conflict.

Child contact problems are always more complex than what can be conveyed in an email or Facebook message or post. These matters are always far more contentious than meets the eye.

The normal in these situations may include any number of serious factors such as a history of domestic violence; power imbalances; unresolved emotional issues such as affairs or intrusive in-laws; substance abuse (drug or alcohol) problems; mental illness; court, police and child protection involvement.

Child contact problems must also be viewed in the context of the child’s developmental history, the current age and stage of the child’s development and with a look at the child’s exposure to the parental conflict as well as the details of the residential arrangement.

Maddy was 3 years of age. She screamed during parental transfers. She would soil her diaper during transfer. One parent took this as evidence of poor parenting by the other and sought to limit that parent’s time with the child. It turns out they had agreed to week-about care of their daughter between them. The time between seeing each parent was to much for Maddy to bear and therefore emotionally stressful. It also turned out that the transfer took 5 to 15 minutes each time with the child exposed to their yelling and screaming. Once the residential arrangement was changed to a 2/2/3 pattern and transfers were between two neutral parties on behalf of the parents, the child’s behavior settled down.

Jake was 6 years of age. He was now at an age where his version of truth was black and white – right or wrong. At his age it was difficult to appreciate that both parents would actually have acted poorly. He was constantly overhearing one set of grandparents talking about the child’s other parent. The child took sides. After his parent (child of the grandparents) set a boundary limiting their intrusions, Jake settled back into seeing both parents.

Benson was 14 years of age. His parents never got a long. There was continuous fighting since their separation when he was 4 years of age. Now at 14 he simply wanted to spend most of his time with friends, away from having to hear the upset of either parent. However, because he lived mostly with the one parent and his friends were within that community, it meant he stopped seeing the other parent. The other parent took the change of contact as an outcome of the other parent’s intrusion. They continued to fight in court forgetting that by this age, a court has even less control of a child than the parents. The parents fought and Benson really didn’t see or listen to either of them. He got into drugs and eventually left school.

In all three cases there were a number of the other intervening variables described above.

These situations from a social point of view are the level 3 and 4 cancers from the medical point of view. These situations often require intrusive and aggressive intervention to turn around and even then by the time there are such contact issues, the prognoses can be a disaster. Like wondering why you have lung cancer after 20 years of smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, many parents wonder how they got into these situation. The post -reflection often reveals similar tell-tale signs:

  • Hard-ball litigating attorneys;
  • Conflicts from the parents’ family of origin or parental histories that include problems with their own parents such as alcohol, domestic violence and/or abuse.
  • Unremitting parental conflict often over parenting styles;
  • Unresolved emotional injuries from the relationship the result of domestic violence and/or infidelity;
  • At least one parent with a substance abuse issue;
  • At least one parent with a mental health issue, most often of a personality disorder type.

If you want to lower the risk of child contact problems and the ravages of a high conflict separation or if you are already in this situation, then consider the following;

  1. If using a lawyer do not seek the hard-ball litigator with the reputation of a bit bull. Look for the lawyer with the reputation of getting along with others and resolving matters peacefully. These are often lawyers trained in Collaborative Law and/or mediation. Beating the other up through the legal system rarely results in peace and even if a court order is issued, the animosity that results will still undo the intended outcome;
  2. If you recognize yourself to have a substance abuse issue or if someone tells you they think you have a substance abuse issue, then abstain from using the substance. The moment you defend your right to imbibe, you are actually demonstrating that a substance has more value than your relationship with your child. That is already a problem whether or not you use to get intoxicated. Always chose the child over the substance. Take the issue off the table completely. Only abstinence can do that.
  3. Mental illness itself isn’t the issue. The issue is unmanaged emotions, all or none thinking and extreme behavior. Learn to manage your own emotions, thinking and behavior. Using the behavior of the other as an excuse for your own can only carry you so far. At some point your own unmanaged emotions and behavior will be a factor of your child’s experience of you and your influence upon your child as a role model. How do you know if you have unmanaged emotions or behavior? You know when you find yourself using substances to survive; when you find yourself yelling or screaming (at anyone); when you find yourself taking about your situation with your children either right next to you or even just in the home let alone telling them bad things directly about the other parent or allowing others do do so almost on your behalf; when you find yourself engaging in out-of-control behavior or behavior that can be regarded as criminal; or when you feel like you can’t cope and are reaching out for help, but in a manner that only serves to blame the other parent. (Even if the other parent is to blame, the issue is your coping.)

So when you get in touch with me asking for quick advice and I indicate that under the request are often complex issues, please forgive me.

In the interest of your children and to honor your request, these situations require far more information than can ever be conveyed in a text message or email and no matter how awful the other persons is said to be, real progress still most often starts by examining oneself and managing oneself in the situation.

Best case scenario is that both parents seek help to understand their own contributions to distress and how they intertwine and how to improve that dynamic. Second best case scenario is that at least one parent seeks to examine their own contribution to distress and manage themself as best as possible. Worse case scenario is that both parents get locked into blaming the other.

I hope this make sense and is actually helpful.

Feel free to download or print or otherwise share this article however you wish.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. I provide a multitude of flexible service to help parents resolve issues as peacefully as possible and without court involvement. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue. I am available in person and by Skype.

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

Facebook
Linked In
Twitter

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships.

When Sexual Assault Doesn’t Look Like Sexual Assault

[Alternate tile: When an Affair Isn’t an Affair]

There is a form of rape or sexual assault rarely discussed. It occurs the result of manipulative luring, particularly of women already in a relationship. A woman’s existing relationship may be good or may have its issues, but if not for the strategies, patience yet perseverance of the perpetrator, that woman would never have been lured into an adulterous looking relationship.

The perpetrator in these circumstances uses techniques of social isolation, exploitation of a person’s vulnerabilities and is frequently presenting himself as troubled by events in his life and needing the emotional support of his target.

We certainly recognize how a young child can be lured: the young child can be offered candy; can be asked to view a puppy; can be told their parent asked that they be picked up. The lures of the adult in some ways can appear similar yet are more sophisticated and sinister: I heard some colleagues talking badly about you. I can’t tell you who, but I have your back.

Consider that lure, that hook.

Instantly, the perpetrator creates a sense of dependency in his target causing him to appear to provide safety in a fictitious situation he creates to make the target feel unsafe. She is now suspicious of her colleagues. He is the only one who can help her through. This is an unbalancing technique.

As the dependency is fostered, then the perpetrator steps up the game: My wife/partner doesn’t understand me…”

Now the target, already unbalanced and likely feeling indebted for him having her back is manipulated into feeling sorry for him. He now needs her support which if withheld would cause her to feel ungrateful. Further, if she withholds her support, she can fear him withholding his and she might therefore be at the mercy of colleagues who may be out to get her. How psychologically manipulative is that!

As one can imagine, this is a scenario that can be further manipulated over time to the point where she is pulled towards sleeping with him. The period of further manipulation is known as grooming. Rarely is this appreciated as a premeditated and insidious form of sexual assault or rape.

As she tries to make sense of her behavior, he may further his brainwashing and grooming of her by alleging they each have feelings for each other. She needing to make sense of a seemingly insane situation may hold on to the perpetrators construction of reality and may engage further in a seemingly romantic tryst, while all the while feeling bewildered, confused, isolated and afraid.

The impact of these manipulated sexual assaults is devastating.

Victims are left to question their morality and indeed it was their morality that was twisted, distorted and used against them. They feel their personal integrity has been shattered.

The woman’s partner also rarely understands or appreciates the dynamics involved; how the perpetrator can actually be better at manipulation than many of us are at not being sucked in. Rather than seeing the woman as a victim of a sexual predator, she is cast as a cheater or adulterer. If her marriage was already troubled, then this can be further used against her by her partner to cast blame and avoid responsibility for issues within their own relationship. These situations so remarkably would undermine even the most otherwise stable and reasonable relationship.

I am seeing more and more of these situation.

The matter comes to me for either couple therapy or mediation to resolve their separation.

If mediation, there is much unresolved anger as the whole situation is cast superficially as a tremendous affair. By the time the couple has separated, it may be impossible to roll back the clock and reconstruct the narrative of what has transpired and why.

In couple therapy, it is no easy task either, but hopefully the couple can more meaningfully unwind what transpired. Hopefully the couple can resist blame and shame of the woman and come to appreciate the insidiousness of the perpetrator’s luring and manipulations and how most anyone can be vulnerable to exploitation.

It is important in couple therapy to support the woman’s partner. The partner will have to address the many personal and inter-personal implications of what has transpired. Anger leading to blame is a common starting point. This is not to be dismissed or seen as inappropriate to begin. It can take considerable discussion and time to come to terms with this seemingly infidelity, not yet appreciated as an insidious sexual assault.

These are remarkably tangled webs to unweave and bear considerable discussion and understanding of not only those involved, but also of their friends and family.

While the effects of the actual sexual assault are many, it is the psychological impact in these situations that are most destructive.

Hopefully this blog post can be of service to those who are in these situations. It can take much time to recover. The aftermath is considerable and counseling with someone attuned to these dynamics can be critical to recovery.

Not all sexual assaults are understood for what they are. Not all sexual assaults look like sexual assault.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue. I am available in person and by Skype.

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

Facebook
Linked In
Twitter

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships.

Settling Disputes Between Separated Parents

One of the biggest challenges for separating parents is to separate their conflict from the care of the children between them.

Frequently I hear from one parent how the other parent doesn’t deserve to see the children the result of a dispute between the parents. However, the parent-child relationship is not a right of the parent, but a right of the child. This can be a very challenging concept for parents to appreciate. To add, the other parent doesn’t have to be a good parent, merely adequate – another tough concept to appreciate.

In these circumstances though, people go to court, at times spurred on by their lawyers but without realizing that the parent complained about will continue to see the kids (absent any real abuse and based upon tangible evidence). Further, over recent years, Court decisions have been more towards a more equalized residential time sharing arrangement than ever before.

So if you are going to court, not liking the other parent and absent tangible evidence that the other parent is truly inadequate and seeking to limit or curtail the other parents access or seeking to limit support obligations, you may be in for a shocking surprise. The kids will be seen and parents will have to pay. This is why mediation and collaborative law can be so beneficial.

With a realistic appraisal of your situation as well as knowledge of current court trends, you can craft an agreement at a fraction of the cost of litigation and have something where you have a say and control of the outcome.

When I conduct mediation with lawyers present, I often ask the lawyers what a likely court order would be in the circumstances described. While no one can guarantee what a judge would necessarily say, all the lawyers are well able to advise of likely outcomes.

That’s right, before all the affidavits, court hearing and even a trial, the lawyers already have a good idea of the likely outcome. The whole fight then zeros in on typically small differences… small differences. However, achieving those small differences come at great costs both financially and emotionally and often to no measurable benefit.

Lawyers will happily take your instruction to fight the fight, but before giving that instruction, ask your lawyer what a likely outcome could be. Next try to figure out the cost both financial and emotional to achieve that outcome. Lead with your head, not your upset.

I completed a mediation a short while ago where parents were recently separated; one was withholding money and the other the children. Neither parent had yet spoken with a lawyer. This could have gone to court with disastrous consequences for everyone, but instead, both parents heard the same information at the same time and were able to set aside their differences to settle their matters.Thereafter I sent the couple to some lawyers to review the intended agreement – lawyers who were specifically trained in helping parents settle peacefully.

People don’t have to like each other to settle their separation, but they must learn or be able to manage their own emotions and behavior. If a parent can’t manage their own emotions or behavior, then pre-mediation counseling or support from a separation coach can help pave the way.Those unmanaged emotions or extreme behavior can set the trajectory for nasty and unremitting court battles to which children are then exposed.

Mediation or Collaborative Law more provides the opportunity for parents to learn conflict resolution skills and to keep their children as the priority of concern. Most parents don’t even realize, you can see a mediator before seeing lawyers. After developing your agreement, then you can see lawyers as recommended by your mediator.

Congrats to those recent parents who despite their upset with each other were still able to achieve a reasonable parenting plan. While they started each advising of what the other did or didn’t deserve, they learned about: the impact of their dispute on their kids; how to facilitate the exchange of the children between them; how to resolve future disputes; and how to behave more reasonably towards each other.

I am so pleased for their children.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue. I am available in person and by Skype.

 

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships.