For those of you that are unfamiliar with UpToParents.org
, here is a great free tool available to parents and mediators. (Thanks to Linda Gryczan for pointing this site out)
It is suggested that mediators have each parent go through the program before entering into a mediation.
I feel this a great tool, and helps show parents the effect their problems and fights have on their children. While I have neither had children nor divorced, I ran through the program to get a look at what it those parents would experience.
After entering a few items of information, the site has users go through ten sections, each of which has them check off commitments to their children. For example:
1.) We'll remember this is ____and ____'s one and only childhood.
2.) We know that ____and ____'s one and only childhood is forming many of the gifts and problems they will carry into adulthood
to see some devastating thoughts of children caught in conflict.
Perhaps the best part of the site is the four exercise they have each parent complete. Exercise A
has each parent look at recent interactions with their counter part in the eyes of their children. After this, they have the parent suggest ways to improve these interactions. Exercise B
examines the way parents act when they are together with the children. They are asked to create a "Child Safety Zone" and sign an agreement to act courteous and respectful in the short time they are togetherExercise C
looks at ways to reframe past memories of their significant other. They have each parents write down 10 good memories or compliments about their significant other in which they will share with their children later. They even say to call the other "mommy" or "daddy", and not "your daddy" or "your mommy"Exercise D
has each parent look to the future. How do they see their kid in 2, 5, 10 + years?
I like the way the program is set up. It immediately lets the parents know that this divorce isn't about the them, its about their kids. What they do now effects their children for the rest of their lives. They are able to reframe some of the thinking of divorce, and look at the future in a positive, cooperative light, rather than a competitive one.