Many parents with severely restricted access hold tremendous rage or anger at agencies, institutions, courts or the custodial parent. However, their limited access may be more a consequence of their responses to problems, than the problems directly. Provocation by others cannot be used to excuse their own behaviour if inappropriate or worse, criminal.
First and foremost, parents in such situations must learn to manage their behaviour so that it cannot be used against them. No matter how provoked a parent may feel, they must never act in such a way as to undermine their own self. Parents must consider the consequences of their responses PRIOR to responding and with a view to acting in their own long-term interest rather than the immediacy of the situation.
Secondly, parents in such situations must learn that relationships are a lifelong endeavour. So even though difficult today, parents must be helped to think long-term. They must act now to prepare and build for a relationship even if in their child’s later life like adolescence or adulthood. Don’t miss the chance for something later, by creating new problems today.
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By Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/