What is Wrong with These People?
What is wrong with these people??
I have been working as a Parent Facilitator for a family. The family had split into 2 systems actually, the father and one child formed one “family” unit and the mother and other child formed another “family” unit. Now, had everyone been happy or at least ok, with this arrangement it might have been workable. However, co-parenting was a vague and distant concept for these parents. The parents had a huge investment in the power struggle of it all and being ok with things was not on their radar.
The challenge/task was to help this family engage as one family unit, have less emotional trauma for the children, and the parents to stop spending so much time and abundant amount of money in court. The girls were also at the age they too, could spend afternoons in the court room instead of their school activities.
In the past many qualified and experienced family therapist had tried their best to get these parents to understand the error of their ways and give the parents much needed counseling and parenting skills. Many child specialists worked with the girls. The girls barely spoke to one another, let alone their parents. The results were more conflict and even a complaint or two filed on the professionals. Now, I was determined to find the right family therapist for this family that would make this system work. I did, and that therapist got fired too.
Of course, all the professionals, myself included, had the “fantasy” of what would help this family function more productively. The big question was -- what is wrong with these people that they did not get it? I started to think about the saying – “insanity is when you keep trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results each time” or something like that. The family was trying the same things over and over getting the same results and we could all see that – and actually, the professionals were doing the same thing, maybe a little hard to see, and guess who was “winning”? -- a more seasoned and experienced family.
After many walks around the lake, I decided it was me that had to change things up and see if we got different results. I wish I could tell you I developed a way to get families to be functional in 5 easy steps but alas… I did start asking the parents what they thought would work best for their family. I asked them to tell me their definition of family, parents, and co-parenting and what they had in common with one another. I am not sure where this will lead, but I did not feel like I was pushing the river and I think I saw a snail move.