• CAFES

    The Child and Family Evaluation Service (CAFES) is a forensic service that operates as a component of our Center of Excellence for Children, Families, and the Law.

Beyond Conflict: Become A Coparenting Team

THIS MANUAL AND VIDEOS ARE INTENDED FOR SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO TEACH AND RUN A HIGH-CONFLICT PARENT EDUCATION CLASS

This Manual describes a 9-class series of psychoeducation for high conflict coparents. The classes are court ordered. Through Intake we screen out participants with serious current IPV, substance abuse, or loss of contact with children who resist or refuse visitation for more than 6 months. Class is taught by two co-leaders (one male and one female) (one mental health professional and one legal professional, often a retired judge). A pass or fail certificate is issued to each class member, and is provided to the court. The Manual comes with a video recording of all nine classes. 

Classes Address

  • Coparenting Partner (CPP) communications: weekly phone calls or emails, following a provided script.
  • Respect for CPP: saying positive things about CPP to children; encouraging children to have regular contact with CPP.
  • Managed emotions (does not zone out or have angry outbursts, etc.).
  • Conflict resolution skill development: leaving history in the past and staying in the present, identifying issues in non-blaming manner; practicing “radical acceptance”; practicing problem solving.
  • Taking responsibility: participant recognizes that their hurt and anger and CPP conflict is damaging to their children.
  • Understanding Children’s perspective: able to refrain from negative communication in front of the children.
  • Participation in and completion of all class activities, including all homework.

Sample Homework 

Put a photo of your CPP (nicely framed and in a prominent place on wall or bureau or nightstand) in your child’s bedroom. Take a cell phone photo that shows the picture and where it is placed in the child’s bedroom, and bring it (your cell phone with the photo) to class. 

Sample Homework 

  • You don’t have to like it. 
  • You don’t have to agree with it. 
  • But it is your reality

Three Choices for things you don’t like that are outside your control: 

  • Fight it (knowing that the fight will never lead to changing it) 
  • Do nothing (and choose to be miserable) 
  • Radically Accept It 

Having listened to your fellow class members, pick a topic FOR ANOTHER CLASS MEMBER—a real life example of something that you see is hard for him or her to accept, and say how she or he might go about radically accepting it. 

Parent fights can force kids to try to resolve adult issues and blame themselves when they fail.
Kids almost never care about the things we parents are fighting about; they just want the fights to stop.
You cannot be a good parent and a lousy coparent.
Be careful where you get your advice.
The world is full of messages about not letting your co-parent “get away with it” and “teaching him/her a lesson.” Advice on warfare is not what you need.