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Preparation and Support in the Service of Peacemaking Between Separated Parents

February 13, 2017

Part of my work involves helping separated parents to sort out the care of children between them.

In the meantime and today specifically, the Canadian Prime Minister met with the American President.

In preparation for the meeting, members of diverse Canadian political parties set aside their differences to prepare the Prime Minister for this most important meeting. The Prime Minister met with former politicians of competing parties in what is known as a bipartisan effort to enable a high level meeting with plenty at stake.

The meeting took place and a press conference followed. Both events appeared to come off without a hitch. Preparation paid, everyone remained civil and a newly established relationship has begun.

This mirrors my work with some separated parents where the degree of conflict precludes my meeting with them alone.

I discuss matters with their lawyers and offer lawyer-assisted mediation. I advise the lawyers of their role in the process and we go ahead and meet. At the outset of the meeting, I explain the process and rules for deportment. As the meeting progresses and as necessary, I can meet with one parent and their lawyer to reinforce the rules of deportment and/or to coach and/or teach necessary skills to facilitate peaceful negotiation.

I have no doubt that our Prime Minister had much on his mind entering the meeting. Similarly, parents entering into mediation can have much on their mind. The process can be scary.

Today I am a proud Canadian.

I am proud that our diverse political parties came together for the national interest. I am pleased that our Prime Minister showed an openness to receiving the input of persons whose political views would differ from his own. I am pleased he was able to heed their input. I am pleased the process facilitated stability in the Canadian/US relationship despite such obvious internal differences. I am pleased that our Prime Minister knew where to hold his tongue to work towards the greater interests of our nation and serve as a role model to other heads of states around the world.

These are the goals we hold out with separated parents.

We seek to have separated parents manage their own behavior and not that of the other. We seek to have them be diplomatic, so as not to inflame matters. We seek to coach them to develop the skills necessary to continue the work independent of their aides.

We do this so they can carry on their task as parents to meet the needs of their children on a go-forward basis recognizing there may be tremendous differences of values, behavior and opinion.

I just thought that what happened today, between Canada and the US shows the best that can be achieved when people set out to keep the peace. This is what we strive for when helping separated parents resolve the care of their children between them.

So much depends upon people learning to get along. We can help.

If you are in a conflicted relationship with your parent-partner, consider lawyer-assisted mediation when sitting alone with the mediator seems too much.

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

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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.

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