It is common to hear Parenting Coordinators (PCs) talk about how tough it is to do this work. But PC work is tough for the parents too! I work with many parents who are understandably reluctant to start the PC process. They are coming from a place where their experience with the other causes them to have little faith that anything can change; they are demoralized, distrustful and often in despair.
PC clients bring years, if not decades, of unresolved grievances into the room with them; they are often traumatized, exhausted and broke. I do not profess to be a miracle worker but as a PC, my first job is to listen and to try to understand what each parent is feeling and why.
PCs will often encourage parents to “put the past behind them” and to “focus on the children”. While these are great goals, PC clients need first to be accepted for who and how they are right now before getting coaching and working on skills.
Unless there is an emergency (and in my experience there is rarely an emergency), my approach is to take the time that I and the parents need to learn how to work together in a way that works for them.
In my next Blog I will highlight some of the skills I use to do this – and these skills are also invaluable to me as a family mediator!