Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone whose relationships are forever changed by the shootings in Santa Barbara.

Blame abounds. Who or what is responsible? Video games, lax gun laws, a seriously flawed mental health system, garbage movies and video games, the parents, a kid suffering from Affluenza and narcissism?

Apparently, the shooter was a lost, lonely kid who we believe was mentally ill, but do we know his diagnosis? Schizophrenia? Antisocial Personality Disorder? Who knows? But his self-admitted ‘pining for his mother’ speaks volumes about the ugly seed growing in him. This guy experienced a lot of loss in his formative years.

Loss 1 – Parents moved him from Europe to the U.S. at age 5 = Loss of culture, home and possibly extended family

Loss 2 – Parents divorced at age of 6 = Loss of family, safety, and stability

Loss 3 – Dad quickly brought new woman into his life = Loss of hope of family reunification, loss of time with Dad

Loss 4 – Mom moved back to Europe = Loss of primary relationship…and hope.

Most kids, depending on their temperament, could handle this.

Instead of pointing all fingers at the shooter, we could take a look at a narcissistic society that lacks emphasis on commitment to marriage and family. I’m not blaming the parents for doing what most have done. Sometimes dissolution is unavoidable but in many or maybe even most cases we could make it work. Maybe we ought not to rely on the common thinking that we shouldn’t stay together for the kids. Maybe we should.

Here are a few suggestions for help in dealing with building a strong marriage, or helping kids cope when divorce is the only answer.

An evidence-based online program for kids whose parents are going through divorce. Children of Divorce – Coping with Divorce. Kids who take this course during their parent’s divorce, or maybe even after, have a far better chance at sustaining good mental health both now and into their adult lives. Highly Recommended

A helpful book on building a strong marriage: Take Back Your Marriage: Sticking Together in a World That Pulls Us Apart

Great gift for anyone having a baby:

Becoming Attached: First Relationships and How They Shape Our Capacity to Love

FINAL_DSC_7171-819x1024Mediating divorce cases can be stressful and draining on the mediator. But what happens when a case shifts gears suddenly and becomes a classic “high-conflict” case in which tensions rise, and you quickly feel like you’ve lost control of the mediation and may not be able to rescue it.

What can you do?
Building structure within each basic mediation step
Step 1 : Signing the agreement to mediate
 spend more time bonding with clients during this stage
 establish that you will have tight control over the mediation process
 thoroughly explain the process and rules of communication
 let them know you’ll pay equal attention to their concerns and proposals
Step 2 : Making the agenda
 have clients raise the issues – not you
 emphasize that it is the parties’ dispute and decisions to be made, not the mediator
 encourage each party to look at and speak to the mediator instead of each other
Step 3 : Making Proposals
 begin the proposal process earlier than usual mediations, to keep highly intense emotions from taking over
 focus on understanding a proposal before allowing the other person to respond
 manage the process with a very direct approach, while not taking responsibility for the outcome
Step 4: Finalizing Your Agreements
 remain calm and remind yourself and the parties that you are responsible for the process, not the outcome
 remember that high-conflict cases may take twice as long to reach final agreement
solving and the other is focused on relationship defensiveness – this may cause them to go round and round several times before signing the agreement
It is possible to help parties in high-conflict cases reach agreement and develop solid parenting plans by using a highly-structured method like this new resource

New Ways for Mediation: More Structure, More Skills and Less Stress for Potentially High-Conflict Cases

Is Divorce Mediation for You?

 

About Unhooked Books
Unhooked Books is the one place for people to find the best and most current information and resources available on personality disorders, high-conflict personalities, divorce, parenting, co-parenting, living healthy, eating healthy, and managing your life. Founder & CEO, Megan Hunter, established one place for people in any type of relationship to find tools to enhance relationships, prevent relationship disaster and handle relationship transition. Her firm belief is that with just a little education, most people can resolve most relationship issues.

billeddyby Bill Eddy

Movie review Part 1

[I am writing this movie review “Part 1” before I have seen the movie Divorce Corp which will be released on Jan. 10, 2014. I have just seen some trailers and received some inside tips.]

I was pleased – but also concerned – when I learned that a movie about Family Court reform was coming out. Why pleased? Because I’m a family lawyer and family counselor who practices Divorce Mediation. I want everyone to know that Divorce Mediation is a better way to make divorce decisions – for most people. Not because Family Court is evil, but because it has an adversarial structure which is designed around one party “losing” and the other party “winning.” This may be good for deciding criminal guilt, business disputes and some public policies, but not good for working out parenting relationships and household finances after a breakup. I had hopes that this movie would help point this out.

I represented clients in Family Court for 15 years and I also give seminars to family law judges for the National Judicial College. I know that most judges and family lawyers try to overcome the adversarial structure to truly help families make good decisions out of court, or good decisions in court – especially to help the children of parents in conflict. I also know that about 80% of people getting divorced never go to court and settle their divorces or parenting disputes with out-of-court agreements – such as in Divorce Mediation or Collaborative Divorce – based on family laws and guidelines that have been well-established over the past 40 years.

For this reason – the inability to resolve issues based on established standards – and because of my mental health training, I know that one or both parties in many (most?) Family Court cases today have a mental health issue that is unrecognized – such as a personality disorder, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, depression – disorders which are often characterized by denial and blaming others. This reflects the growth of these problems in the larger society today. These are not problems unique to Family Court, but Family Courts need to recognize them.

Sadly, Family Courts provide a forum for people with such problems today (in contrast to when I began practicing law), especially because family lawyers, judges and other professionals are not trained in identifying mental health issues, get stuck arguing about them out of ignorance and there are few mental health resources for treating them even if they were properly identified. Family courts were never designed to diagnose and treat mental health issues, and the adversarial process is guaranteed to fail at it. Reforms need to involve more mental health training for professionals and more conflict resolution skills for clients to help them make decisions out of court in non-adversarial settings.

Why am I concerned about the movie? Because I have been informed that Divorce Corp does not focus on the structure of court, but focuses on a more shrill “all-or-none” view of family court, family lawyers and other professionals. By seeming to claim that Family Court judges think they are God (a few, but not most), that family lawyers are all greedy (some, but not most) and that most allegations of abuse are false (many are but many aren’t – but the adversarial process makes it harder to figure these out), this movie is likely to create a lot of noise and anger, but very little useful dialog and reform. By making it personal and using “all-or-none” thinking – rather than talking about the mental health issues which dominate today’s family court hearings – it misses a great opportunity to promote useful reforms.

[I’ll talk about the reforms that I believe are needed, after I see the movie – in Movie Review Part 2 next week.]

—————————————————–

Bill Eddy is a lawyer (Certified Family Law Specialist), a child and family therapist (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) and the Senior Family Mediator at the National Conflict Resolution Center. He is the President of the High Conflict Institute, which provides training worldwide in managing “high-conflict people” in legal disputes, workplace disputes, healthcare disputes and educational disputes. He is the author of several books, including The Future of Family Court: Structure, Skills and Less Stress. www.HighConflictInstitute.com.

About Unhooked Books
Unhooked Books is the one place for people to find the best and most current information and resources available on personality disorders, high-conflict personalities, divorce, parenting, co-parenting, living healthy, eating healthy, and managing your life. Founder & CEO, Megan Hunter, established one place for people in any type of relationship to find tools to enhance relationships, prevent relationship disaster and handle relationship transition. Her firm belief is that with just a little education, most people can resolve most relationship issues.

Safe Kids, Smart Parents

November 1, 2013

Halloween is over and the kids are back to school. Here’s to hoping that everyone had a fun and safe trick-or-treating night, but it leads us to think about educating your kids about stranger danger, after having allowed them to ring a stranger’s doorbell and accept a treat.

In Safe Kids, Smart Parents, authors Rebecca Bailey, PhD and Elizabeth Bailey, RN, BC, offer a chapter called “Be alert. The World Needs More Lerts”. They advocate teaching your child to think critically, which includes assessing a situation and deciding how to respond appropriately, and the authors even provide games for you to play with your children that help them do that.

The book is filled with everything you need to know to keep your kids safe, including an age-specific chart on when to tell your kids specific safety-related information, and “the safe kid kit” that is written directly to kids and meant specifically for them. It includes:

I. Just For Older Kids

Ages 12-15

Age 15 and Up

II. More Just for Kids Age 12 and Up

A Word to the Wise, and You Are Wise

What’s a Girl to Do

III. Just for the ‘Tweeners

Ages 9-12

IV. Just for the Younger Kids

Ages 6-9

Ages 3-6

V. The Safety Agreement

For Older Kids

For Younger Kids

VI. Safety Equations

VII. The Safe List

VIII. Resources and Information

IX. What to Do if a Child is Missing

Get your copy while it’s on sale here!

About Unhooked Books
Unhooked Books is the one place for people to find the best and most current information and resources available on personality disorders, high-conflict personalities, divorce, parenting, co-parenting, living healthy, eating healthy, and managing your life. Founder & CEO, Megan Hunter, established one place for people in any type of relationship to find tools to enhance relationships, prevent relationship disaster and handle relationship transition. Her firm belief is that with just a little education, most people can resolve most relationship issues.

Aren’t you sick and tired of hostile emails, personal attacks and social media meltdowns?

Layout 1This webinar teaches a simple, but powerful 10-question model for coaching anyone to write responses that are Brief, Informative, Friendly and Firm. They can totally turn the conversation around or end unnecessary hostilities. High Conflict Institute has taught the BIFF method for over six years and it is changing the conversation in divorce cases, in the workplace, between neighbors and among family members. This Webinar will include videotape examples of coaching everyday people to use the BIFF method. It’s not as easy as it looks! This training session should help you improve your BIFF skills and your coaching skills. For anyone working with people: lawyers, counselors, teachers, managers, healthcare workers, administrators, government officials and so forth.

Registrants are entitled to a discounted price of $9.95 plus shipping on Bill Eddy’s book: BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People, Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Emails and Social Media Meltdowns  A link for ordering the book, along with the participant’s discount code, will be sent in a follow up email along with the Webinar participation details.

Participating in the Webinar:

After registering, you will receive an email invitation from Cisco WebEx with a link and password that allows you to join the meeting when it’s time. Save this email! You will need this information to join the meeting. Be sure to check your Spam folder!

Register now or contact Trissan Dicomes at tdicomes@HighConflictInstitute.com or call 619-221-9108 if you have any questions or would like more information.

Need more information about webinars? You can attend the webinar by PC, Laptop, Smart Phone or other mobile device, Learn more at: http://www.webex.com/products/web-conferencing/mobile.html. Headsets are recommended for the best audio experience. If you prefer to listen in by phone only, a telephone number will be provided after registration. Not familiar with webinars? Click here to watch a short tutorial video http://www.webex.com/how-to/index.html  and/or you can join a test meeting here: http://www.webex.com/test-meeting.html  (recommended)

About Unhooked Books
Unhooked Books is the one place for people to find the best and most current information and resources available on personality disorders, high-conflict personalities, divorce, parenting, co-parenting, living healthy, eating healthy, and managing your life. Founder & CEO, Megan Hunter, established one place for people in any type of relationship to find tools to enhance relationships, prevent relationship disaster and handle relationship transition. Her firm belief is that with just a little education, most people can resolve most relationship issues.

Book302-2The only way that you can get binging and overeating under control—once and for all—is to understand why you overeat and then move beyond the ‘why’ by developing new habits. Using stories from people who’ve conquered overeating and questions designed to guide you through your ‘why’, Dr. Izzo and Vicki Carpel Miller help you drop the pounds, get healthy and get your life back. Just Stop Eating That! goes beyond calorie counting and yo-yo dieting. Ultimately, Vicki and Ellie teach you to use your thoughts to break the old neurocircuitry that keeps you eating too much. Then they walk you through the Rapid Advance Process that will help you experience life-altering changes faster than you ever thought imaginable!

The only way that you can get binging and overeating under control—once and for all—is to understand why you overeat and then move beyond the ‘why’ by developing new habits. Using stories from people who’ve conquered overeating and questions designed to guide you through our ‘why’, Dr. Izzo and Vicki Carpel Miller help you drop the pounds, get healthy and get your life back.

Just Stop Eating That! goes beyond calorie counting and yo-yo dieting. Ultimately, Vicki and Ellie teach you to use your thoughts to break the old neurocircuitry that keeps you eating too much. Then they walk you through the Rapid Advance Process that will help you experience life-altering changes faster than you ever thought imaginable!

About Unhooked Books
Unhooked Books is the one place for people to find the best and most current information and resources available on personality disorders, high-conflict personalities, divorce, parenting, co-parenting, living healthy, eating healthy, and managing your life. Founder & CEO, Megan Hunter, established one place for people in any type of relationship to find tools to enhance relationships, prevent relationship disaster and handle relationship transition. Her firm belief is that with just a little education, most people can resolve most relationship issues.

In just four quick and easy minutes, this terrific animated graphic explains how adults and communities help children build healthy brains, and how that process can be derailed by toxic stress.

The Alberta Family Wellness Initiative developed the video, with assistance from the Harvard Center on the Developing Child and the Frameworks Institute.

The only down side is that they didn’t put this on YouTube or Vimeo, which drastically slows down its movement through cyberspace.

brains

About Unhooked Books
Unhooked Books is the one place for people to find the best and most current information and resources available on personality disorders, high-conflict personalities, divorce, parenting, co-parenting, living healthy, eating healthy, and managing your life. Founder & CEO, Megan Hunter, established one place for people in any type of relationship to find tools to enhance relationships, prevent relationship disaster and handle relationship transition. Her firm belief is that with just a little education, most people can resolve most relationship issues.