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When Separated Parents Create a Minefield….

September 5, 2017

The call is from an exasperated therapist, educator, instructor, group leader or even coach. They feel caught in the middle between separated parents each placing a different demand or expectation upon them. The service provider may even feel overwhelmed and intimidated.

One or both parents may seek to be the sole contact person for the child. One or both may seek to restrict information shared with the other parent. One or both may seek to enlist you as a support in their dispute with the other parent. One or other parent may not be in agreement to have the children attend the service delivered. Parents may threaten to lodge a complaint against the service provider if their wishes are not followed.

These are typically regarded as high conflict separations/divorces.

In a high conflict parental separations, parents do not get along; are frequently involved in the family court system; may have had police or child protection agency involvement. There are often allegations of abuse and /or child maltreatment.

Providing service to parents in this context can be difficult.

Service providers may wonder:

  • Who is in charge of the child?
  • Who can legitimately make choices on the child’s behalf?
  • Who is at fault upon hearing contradictory stories from the parents about each other?
  • What are the legal obligations of the service provider to each parent?

These are actually complex questions, at times requiring complex answers. To provide service to children in the context of high conflict separated parents the service provider must be equipped to answer those questions address those issues and more.

As a service provider you need basic legal information, strategies to effectively communicate to parents and policies to guide your service particularly where there are multiple service providers on site.

To learn more about high conflict separated parents and how to differentiate them from low and medium conflict separated parents, please check out my web-page where you will also find information about my professional development and consultation services to better manage these situations.

By the way, if you are the service provider and feel this way, just imagine life for that child.

The child may benefit from your service. You learning to manage in this context is good for the child.

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. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

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