New Ways for Families® helps divorcing and separating families as they transition into a new way of life.
Developed by Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq., co-founder of the High Conflict Institute, it is designed to help parents strengthen conflict-resolution and co-parenting skills before BIG DECISIONS are made in mediation, collaborative divorce, between the parents, or in court.
It can be taken online before, during or after the divorce or separation and you can book in a one on one coaching session with me as well to help you along the way.
It is designed to save courts time, to save parents money, and to protect children as their families re-organize in new ways.
PARENTS’ EMOTIONS ARE CALMED AND THEY LEARN NEW SKILLS
THEY ARE BETTER ABLE TO MAKE THEIR OWN PARENTING DECISIONS OUT-OF COURT.
79% of cases in a study of New Ways for Families reached agreement without going to court
44% of these parents reached agreement on their own during or after attending New Ways for Families
35% reached agreement with help from mediators, collaborative divorce teams or through judicial dispute resolution
- To immunize families against becoming high conflict families in the separation and after the divorce, by teaching parents to avoid common characteristics of high conflict families and to learn or strengthen skills for resiliency.
- To help parents teach their children skills for resilience in this time of huge and rapid change in the foundation of their family life.
- To strengthen both parents’ abilities to make parenting decisions, while relying less on experts and the courts to make their decisions for them.
- To assist professionals and the courts in assessing each parent’s potential to learn new, positive ways of problem-solving and organizing their family after a separation or divorce. By having both parents participate in the program, it helps professionals and the courts avoid creating an “all-bad parent” and an “all-good parent,” which often escalates the family into high conflict behavior. The focus is always on strengthening skills for future co-parenting.
- To give parents a chance to change in court cases of abuse or alienation, before making long-term court orders which may limit their contact with children or require additional treatment (batterers treatment, drug treatment, further counseling, etc.). New Ways still allows for temporary orders when necessary for the health and safety of the children.
How Is New Ways For Families® Different Than A Parenting Class?
New Ways for Families® is a short term, method for parents re-organizing their families after a separation or divorce. New Ways was specifically designed for “high conflict” parents – those who are stuck in an endless cycle of conflict. Ideally, New Ways should be used at the start of a case before big decisions are made, to prevent the parties from becoming high-conflict. However, New Ways is valuable at any point in the process, even post-divorce or after parenting orders are made.
New Ways for Families® was specifically designed for high conflict parents. High conflict parents need more structure and accountability than a typical parent. They lack self-awareness and basic problem solving skills. They are unable to manage their emotions, which leads to extreme behavior. They constantly return to court with increased demands, expecting the judge to “see their side” and make decisions in their favor. However, they will never be satisfied with the decisions of the judge and will continue to return to court on every issue. They are determined to keep the conflict going instead of looking for ways to resolve it.
New Ways is different than a parenting class in two ways. First, New Ways provides the structure and accountability that high conflict parents need. Second, New Ways focuses on the long term effects for children, rather than short term change in parents’ behavior, likely to last only during the divorce process or until the court has made orders in their favor.
New Ways acknowledges that high conflict parents lack three fundamental problem solving skills:
- flexible thinking (making realistic proposals, acknowledging that there is more than one solution, acknowledging that people are not “all-bad” or “all-good”)
- managed emotions (controlling one’s anger, sadness, fear, and anxiety so as to not over-react and take things personally, and to not pass on these feelings to the child)
- moderate behaviors (avoiding extreme actions, including extreme behavior during custody exchanges, extreme parenting order requests, and violence)
Without these skills, they are unable to behave reasonably when confronted with conflict. They think in extreme ways, which leads to extreme behavior. And, they don’t even recognize that they are doing it!
High Conflict Parents, High Conflict Children: Long Term Effects
High conflict parents raise high conflict children. In a high conflict divorce or custody dispute, stakes for the children are high. The longer the problem continues, the longer the children are placed in the middle of the ongoing conflict. Not only does it affect their lives on a daily basis, but they learn this high conflict behavior – which has long term consequences. Children who learn high conflict behavior have difficulty forming and maintaining healthy relationships, managing their emotions and behavior, and developing problem solving skills.
Parenting classes tend to focus on the parents, particularly past negative behavior. This allows for a high conflict parent to only focus blame on the other parent, obsessing about the “bad” actions of that other parent. New Ways focuses on positive future behavior – how to effectively co-parent, how to teach the child skills for resilience for future success, how to use appropriate problem-solving skills for future situations. New Ways focuses on the outcome for the child, on creating a co-parenting environment that is healthy for the child and teaches skills for resilience.
“The courtroom is not the place to effectuate long-term resolution of child custody issues. It is imperative that parents learn skills, such as those being taught by New Ways for Families, so that our collective children can not only survive divorce, but can enjoy their childhood.” and mature into psychologically healthy adults. The greatest gift that parents can give to their children is a sense of stability and self worth. This will only happen with divorcing/separating parents when the pain and anger cease, and they return to treating each other with dignity and respect. The benefits to their children (as well as to themselves) will be immense.
— Hon. Alan B. Clements (Ret.), Family Law Commissioner, Superior Court of California, San Diego, California 1988-2008 Judicial Officer of the Year 2009, Family Law Section of the State Bar of California
Parenting Without Conflict, By New Ways For Families
12-Session Online Class
This course is presented in a positive, “no blame, no shame” context and focuses on skills for successful future co-parenting – rather than focusing on bad past behavior. BOTH parents should complete the course individually, so that both parents are using the same skills for co-parenting. However, either parent can register for the course on their own at any time.
Who can refer clients to this course?
Judges, Lawyers. Mental Health Professionals, Mediators, Coaches, Family Court Services, Parent Educators, Divorce Financial Consultants – any family law professional
If court-ordered, judges should order both parents to complete this course at the beginning of the case. That way, both parents learn the exact same skills necessary to manage their emotions and engage productively in the decision making process before conflict and emotions escalate.
The skills learned will help each parent:
(1) work more productively with professionals during the decision making process
(2) work more productively with his/her co-parent
(3) support his/her children during this transition