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-      Craig Wilkinson      -      Accredited Mediator / Fostering Consultant       -      Tel: 07946 850094      -

Gary Direnfield in his paper “Separated Parents and the Continuum of Conflict” www.yoursocialworker.com/s-articles/continuum-of-conflict.htm identifies several key points to help parents minimise conflict whilst attempting to agree contact arrangements for the children. I have summarised these points for you:

  • Not all parental separations are alike and not all parental separations spell disaster for children.
  • The most salient factor in determining risk for poor developmental outcomes for children is the level of conflict between the parents.
  • Low conflict separated parents typically hold little to no animosity towards each other. They can resolve differences amicably and support each other with regard to parenting decisions.
  • Moderately conflicted parents hold a degree of anger/animosity towards each other. Differences can escalate to conflict which at times can require the help of a third party.
  • High conflict separated parents are when at least one, if not both, holds a great deal of anger towards the other. One or both parents will vilify the other. One or both will present themselves as holding the best interests of the child on a greater basis than the other. Conflict tends to be unremitting and as soon as one issue is resolved, several others may surface. Children in these situations tend to be caught in the middle. They are often used as go betweens and they are often exposed to parental animosity. These children are at risk of developing behavioural, emotional and psychological issues that interfere with their daily functioning; and may impact on their future relationships in their adult life.

Ideally all parents should ‘get along’ and discuss any and all matters concerning their children as the children will benefit from this.

Questions to consider:

  • How would you describe your position ie: low; moderate or high conflict?

It is important to focus on your position and not the other parent’s stance. You can only be responsible for, and change, your own thinking / behaviour. It is hoped that when one parent demonstrates respect the other will begin to reduce their animosity and eventually demonstrate respect too. I understand this is not always the case, however, in my experience hostility and anger tends to encourage a similar response from the other parent. If you demonstrate unconditional respect you will be acting in a mature, responsible manner and you will be providing a positive role model to your children. What type of role model are you currently providing?

  • What can you do to move towards the next position? For your children to achieve the best outcome parents should strive to reach the low conflict position.

If you and/or the other parent are either in the moderate or high conflict position you may require the help of a third party. Please ring me on 07946850094 to see how I can help you achieve a better outcome for your children.

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-      craig@solutionsinmind.co.uk      -      © Solutions In Mind       -      Aided by Ideas Into Reality     -