Imagine if…

In the midst of a heat-wave, as the pressure mounts and disaffected dads decide that they will no longer simply disappear into the shadows, I am thinking about the debacle that is the Coalition efforts to reform support to separated families and the futility and the financial waste that has gone alongside it.  Like others, I am considering the ways in which the sticky fingers of the state and its institutions bring not resolution but ruin to the efforts of families to find ways of co-parenting after family separation.

From where I am looking the view is quite dismal.

We have the Child Support Agency, which used to spend 40p on every pound collection on the collection process itself.  To ensure that the collection of child maintenance is not as costly to the state, we now have some services which are offered to poor people, some services that tell dads how deficient they are and a call centre which tells people how much he should be paying or how much she should be receiving. If that fails to ensure transfer of resources, payment is levied from parents themselves to cover the cost of transfer of funds and if that fails, enforcement with menaces is the order of the day.

Meanwhile, if you have issues about relationships with your children, you can apply for a contact order, have a mediation session, get a child arrangement order (pending successful progression through the legislative process) have it thwarted, but not have it enforced in any way shape or form because Liz Trinder et al have decided that enforcement is not necessary.

And just in case you find yourself in real trouble, you can go to mediation and the mediation fairy will make everything alright again for you by telling you to:

     ‘sit down David, this is not helping anybody.  Now, what are your access arrangements?’ 

(Excerpt from HSSF video designed to help separating parents to make their own arrangements)

It would be funny if it were not so sad, so seriously damaging and so dismissive of the real lives and real needs of separated families.  I cannot tell you how truly disappointed and how utterly nauseated I am by it.

Which leads me to thinking again about what lies ahead and what can be done differently given the heavy hand of the state has botched it so badly.

In my experience the worst thing that happens to separating parents is that they encounter the discriminatory legislation when they push up against it during the separation itself.  The reality is that this discriminatory legislation makes things much much worse, not better.  During times of high conflict and deep distress, the reality of this discriminatory legislation is forced upon parents through the state funded services which sit underneath it.  Services which are riddled with assumption and bias and which are far removed from the reality of the lived experience of separating mothers and fathers.

I have no idea how we rid the state of those assumptions and bias.  Having attempted for many years to raise the reality of the discriminatory practice around separated fathers, it seems to me that there is absolutely no appetite whatsoever to either listen to that or act upon it.  Perhaps this is because it would take a change of primary legislation, perhaps it is because there is no-one shaping the new legislation that could deliver different outcomes, perhaps it just is that no-one cares about men as fathers.  Whatever it is, the collective shrug of the shoulders in reaction to being confronted with the reality is enough to tell me that whatever we do to highlight the reality, the response will be just the same.

Which leaves us with the old saying,  ‘if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got’.  Now, more than ever, is the time to do something differently.

So what is it we can do differently?  If saying what is wrong and showing what is wrong is not going to get us anywhere, if demonstrating different ways is not going to do it, what can we do that could really change the way that our families are fractured and fathers are forced out of children’s lives.  What difference could we, the people who understand what is wrong, make to the lives of those who suffer on a daily basis, the loss and discrimination which is stitched into our legislation and the services that support it.

Imagine if.

At the point of separation and even before it, there was somewhere to go where people were therapeutically skilled and able to hold and support you through the pain.

Imagine if.

As two separating parents you were helped to listen to each other, helped to understand how your decision to separate will impact upon your children and how, by learning the skills of being a separated parent, you could prevent the problems that children in separated families experience.

Imagine if.

Each time you encountered those people who are supporting you, you were met with the utmost respect, dedication and care about what happens to you as a mother, a father and your children.

Imagine if.

Those people were willing to go an extra hundred miles with you as you suffered through the days and nights of the most painful life experience (apart from bereavement) it is possible to suffer.

Imagine if.

That support was given to you by men and women, by mothers and fathers, by grandmothers and grandfathers, each and every one of whom had experienced your pain, your suffering, your loss and your sorrow.

Imagine if.

Your experience as a mother and father were equally valued, equally recognised and equally support for the different things you bring to your children’s lives.

Imagine if.

Your agreements were brokered upon that equal value by people who understand that family separation is always going to be about losing some of your precious time with your children.

Imagine if.

You could express your suffering in ways that were not immediately interpreted within a framework of patriarchal analysis and that when you express a wish for your children to have a good relationship with their father, this is not interpreted as being evidence of you being controlled.

Imagine if.

You could express your suffering in ways that were not immediately interpreted within a framework of patriarchal analysis and that when you say you have been battered by your wife and you are afraid, you are believed, supported and your wife is supported too.

Imagine if.

You could express your suffering in ways that were not immediately interpreted within a framework of patriarchal analysis and that when you say you have been battered by your husband and you are afraid, you are supported and your husband is supported too.

Imagine if.

There were anger management workshops that you could attend on a regular basis so that your understanding of the world as a violent and angry place is reduced and your ability to manage your angry and violent behaviour is supported positively instead of reinforcing your fear with the experience of being shamed by angry people who believe in a patriarchal society.

Imagine if.

The people who supported you could help you to work out how to share your finances so that your children are never dramatically better off with one of you than the other and so that both of you can share care and provision for your children.

Imagine if.

As you go through the early days of your new co-parenting agreement, you had a parenting co-ordinator walking with you each step of the way, easing the communication, teaching new behaviours, guiding and supporting you.

Imagine if.

When it comes to meeting someone new, the skills you need to integrate your new relationship with your existing responsibilities as a co-parent, were readily available to you.

Imagine if.

You never had to give your life over to the state because the support that you need is right there in your own community.

Imagine if.

When you emerge from the process of family separation intact, you turn around and give a helping hand to those coming behind you.

Imagine if.

The cost of delivering this whole new way of being, was a fraction of what you would pay the state.

Imagine.

In the field of family separation there are many many people who have the awareness and skills to bring together exactly what I have just described.  We have legal people, we have therapists, we have social workers, we have parenting co-ordinators, we have mediators, we have conciliators, child psychiatrists, psychologists, goodness me we even have Judges who understand that what is currently being done is not what families need.

People who care, people who understand, people who are close enough to separated families to help them walk, step by step through the most difficult and painful times of their lives.

Men and women who do not need research studies, evidence based parenting programmes imported from other countries, wheezes with knobs on to lever out funding, to  deliver the difference that separated families need.

And we have, what is needed most of all, we have access to the families who need the help that we can provide.

Families who, when they are able to get what they need in terms of support before the state run services step in, are able to take up the support that is given and deliver the difference it makes to the children who matter.

And it is amazing how many mothers as well as fathers want to make that difference to their children.

I am not saying that in doing this ourselves we will solve all problems.  There will still be parents who wish to take control and utilise all of the powers that the state offers to ensure that they do.  For the fathers (and some mothers who are subjected to this we will need the legal experts and the therapists to try to avoid the worst of the damage).  We may even still benefit from the tiny tweaks in the legal system proposed in the Children and Families Bill (did you hear that trolls, I said we may even benefit from your so called ‘presumption’ of shared parenting), we can certainly work within that framework.

But it seems to me that if we keep on waiting for the state to deliver and we keep on subjecting parents to the institutionalised state funded services, we will keep on driving families to the same outcomes.  Especially when we have to continue to work within a discriminatory framework.

But, brothers and sisters…. imagine the difference if we were doing it for ourselves.

32 comments

  1. Jane Jackson · July 8, 2013

    There must be something in the water, i was just writing a rant and your post pinged in my Inbox!
    Can I add,
    Imagine mutual respect, respect for family.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · July 8, 2013

      you can Jane, and imagine and me and you and all the rest of us got together and built the services we know are needed for families. Doesn’t take much of a step to simply get on and do it!

      Like

  2. Anthony Esler · July 8, 2013

    Sounds very much like mediation to me Karen!!!??? Also: An awful lot of folk want to ‘move on’ in their lives and wouldn’t want to give the time involved…all sounds a bit ‘airy-fairy’ I’m afraid…

    Like

    • karenwoodall · July 8, 2013

      well to each his own Anthony and the very best with mediation. K

      Like

  3. StuG · July 8, 2013

    Yes, we could easily do it for ourselves many times better than the State wants to. Whilst that may distract some litigants from the courts, it won’t solve the core problem. Getting funding will be difficult because that seems to go to anybody preventing progress. You’ll get some well to do middle class people and may well have a small income stream from that but the core clients of the court; the mentally deficient who disobey contact orders; the male and female aggressors; the greedy; the deceitful; etc will stay away from any service that encourages insight and personal agency and responsibility. They get a better deal from the state than their own own integrity allows, whilst reveling in the pleasure of inflicting pain, inconvenience and cost on the ex partner, as well as the children, who become more compliant and easier to deal with upon every disappointment heaped upon them.

    The stats for the prevalence of this kind of mental disease in society lines up nicely to the percentage of couples using the courts because one or both lacks the sincerity to do it for themselves and stick to arrangements. It is this population of the medically sick and criminally minded that the legal profession and the judiciary abuse to make their living in private law cases.

    The different meanings of patronism apply both ways. The sick and deceitful are patronised by the judges, who are patronised in return by the deceitful in having their cases listed several times to pretend to deal with the problems they cause. Courts stay open, judges keep their jobs, lawyers coin it in, social workers stay in power.

    It’s more about artificially elevating the number of judges, lawyers and social workers (the number of all dwindled in Australia after 2006) way above what is necessary to create themselves a bigger power base than Governments who only last one term.

    The rot of the legal profession has been clearly shown by the hacking scandal, where not one lawyer has been prosecuted despite criminal hacking activity way in excess of what the media were doing. The Police do not prosecute lawyers, they prosecute on behalf of bent lawyers
    ( https://www.facebook.com/groups/439585182740404/ ), or patsy by handing Lord Justice Leveson the portfolio of extensive evidence, so he can bury it. If that is what they do for public inquiries, what are they doing in secret courts?

    For anybody else in public office, it’s a quick route to criminal prosecution to knowingly conceal criminal conduct. Instead, we have the Police choosing who they will and who they will not prosecute. Why was the file not give to the CPS? Judges are obliged to pass details of criminal activity to the Police, why didn’t Leveson? And why is he not being prosecuted for not doing so?

    Family law seems to have been an experiment in abject corruption; the creation of a system where nobody has to do their job properly (and woe betide them if they do), corruption is knowingly covered up by judges, CAFCASS/Office for Judicial Complaints/IPCC/NHS/GMC/GSCC-HCPC/SRA/SDT/Law Society don’t do complaints, so nothing improves, nobody knows what they are doing, or what to do, or what they have done, or gives a s**t. Family law attracts business due to miscreants who do not give a s**t who are then handled by blatant misfeasants who do not give a s**t.

    Miscreants are not attracted to real and helpful services run by experts who will not act as their apologists and not provide them with specious soundbites to disingeniously justify their mercenary and nefarious conduct.

    So, the question is one of: how, when we live in toilet country where more money is spent creating appearances of justice than justice itself, and where consequently corruption in public life is the norm, with the family courts the epitome, do we attract the corrupt and mentally ill litigants away from family courts?

    Like

  4. karenwoodall · July 8, 2013

    Well yes I agree that those who are likely to make use of this kind of service are those who want to do it for themselves and are naturally suspicious or unused to the state being involved in their lives anyway and that the state is working with those who will do all possible with anything possible to maintain control. But, could we not try out something which offers a road map to something different? Using people who are used to working with the percentage of those who go to court (remember virtually 100% of our work is with court based cases, most of which are in the tiniest percentage of highest conflict and we get good results in 82% of the work we do with alienated children). And I know you have the skills Stu and you know people who have the skills and people who know people who have the skills. And we have a working framework for court management and we don’t need huge amounts of funding because we are delivering it anyway, its just a matter of linking people up and building local hubs. we will still get the mothers who are implacably hostile and we will still get those hell bent on making misery, but we work with those people anyway, I meet them every day. Just a thought or two to keep us cool in the heat wave.

    Like

  5. Vincent McGovern · July 8, 2013

    I think the sun has affected you Karen, you need a larger fan to cool yourself with. Although difficult to imagine you as a giggling Chinese actress acting all coy and shy while fanning yourself. We can imagine how if and when till we die of old age, including the last image. Mr Stu G grasped much of the issue above. And the jockey from Newmarket Mr A E also. Like them I read and revere your blogs for the searing intellectual honesty and incisive comments which elevates the thinking of the rest of us. I’m afraid I shall imagine how Fr Dougal McGuire would react if he read your blog. “You’re codding me, aren’t you Karen.”

    Like

    • karenwoodall · July 9, 2013

      Neither kidding, codding or giggling vincent but intrigued at the reactions to this post.

      The spirit of this article is borrowed from the Men and Boys conference this year…imagine if invites you to step outside of the box and think differently about your world.

      So far three responses from dads… Imagine if….nah, it sounds too airy fairy and anyway people want to move on in their lives… Imagine if…nah, people are too ill and anyway the state is corrupt…imagine if…you feeling alright Karen?

      My ‘searing intellectual honesty’ forces me to question why it is so difficult to steo outside of this particular box.

      On the one hand we have a multi million pound womens movement which sets the rules and manages them.

      On the other hand we have a band of brothers suffering from Stockholm Syndrome?

      Come on chaps, use your imagination!

      Like

  6. Jane Jackson · July 9, 2013

    Ok, so we have tried all sorts of routes so what is so wrong to start to think of this from a different perspective.
    We can and have for years now gone around and around in ever decreasing circles getting absolutely nowhere.
    Of course there is anger, despair and bereavement , but does that help.
    The general public, have no understanding at all of this issue, I get the same reaction all the time,”Of course Dads can see their children.”
    We know that is not the truth, so how to get the truth out there?
    To get public support?
    I can not write as eloquently as Karen does, I am just a mum, who knows the desperation of my son, 6 years on, and a grandmother who aches for her granddaughter, I feel the same anger,despair and bereavement and I spend a great deal of my time, being ‘airy-fairy’ imagining a family built on mutual respect. A family where we understand fully our responsibilities of being a parent, not a right. A family where we communicate.
    Airy-fairy, probably, but then I am an old woman whose, dad walked out on me when I was 15, saying he didn’t want anything to do with me anymore as he had a new life. A man who had lived a double life for years,a man married to my mum for over 30 years, a man who let me down.
    Did it make me a ‘man-hater’?
    No, he was an individual who made his own decision, he was not a representative of all men.
    I don’t have the answer, anymore than anyone else does, but I do know that we have to raise the importance of families and the importance of both parents.
    Dishing out the dirt,constantly helps no-one.

    Like

  7. Yaz · July 9, 2013

    Just to let it be known that there are Dad’s out there like me that whilst cynical about the ‘system’, that want to move on but not at the expense of abandoning children to their fate, and might find your last blog sounding something of a blue sky scenario (but hey’ look outside the window now), are still prepared to try anything, and stepping outside the box is probably the only way we can ever bring about change, so please everyone, keep an open mind.

    For my own part most recently, thinking outside of the box has involved bringing your blog/work to the attention of someone in my local area in a position where they can raise awareness across the County. Hopefully in the coming weeks they will approach you to ask for you view on various aspects of the problems surrounding the effect on children of family breakdown when it is not handled properly and one parent becomes excluded from the lives of their children.

    Like

  8. Jane Moore · July 9, 2013

    I had thought that if a number of high profile fathers were to experience the injustices of Family Law in this country then change might stand a chance…but thinking about that it wont happen, their families separation wont affect them in the same way, the mothers standard of living will be kept intact and she wont rock that boat…

    Its all about money…from the pay outs to the judiciary right through to the corrupt Child Support Agency and the injustices perpetuated by the Child Benefit system…

    Will this imagined new framework be free, will it be means tested…will people be turned away because of lack of funds?

    The media have demonized F4J, I can see they feel pushed into a corner with nowhere else to go. They don’t have the backing of the majority of the public and are given no credence by anyone….what does this say about our society… and what hope do we possible have of changing the system when so much ignorance exists?

    I would be ecstatic if a new framework of services were to be rolled out, run by people with knowledge and compassion….I would be first in line to offer my support and assistance. At the moment though with the very fabric of our family life being torn apart, it sounds rather like pie in the sky….

    I have the utmost respect for you Karen and I know you speak with great insight, but even you must admit this what if that you talk of has very little chance of success in the current climate.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · July 9, 2013

      This is how I hear these responses…imagine if…nah, too costly, imagine if…nah, wont work..imagine if…nah, no-one is going to go for that…imagine if…nah just words…… The post is supposed to encourage you to imagine what would happen if we did something differently….does no-one use their imagination these days? Goodness me, I am not asking you to believe in fairies, I am just asking you to imagine if….. Is not the very fact that when I ask you to do that you focus on the problem believing that the solution always lies in the hands of other people tell you something about the psychology of this? i haven’t gone mad folks, I asking you to imagine if…. Have a go, its not that difficult…

      Like

      • Jane Moore · July 9, 2013

        Believe me Karen I have imagined if countless times and still do….ok so we have all imagined what if, what now, where do these imaginings leave us? More disillusioned than ever or more inspired?

        It’s wrong of you to think that I believe the solution lies with others, I spend hours every day trying to help parents weave a way through the mess that is our Family Law system. I give my time freely and am moved to tears more often than I care to remember. I see the consequences and I feel the pain….

        Tell me what you want me to do once I’ve imagined, do we come together as one and set off creating our new framework…and when we take our fingers out of the holes in the dam and set off on our crusade who will come behind us and hold the water back?

        I love reading your blog, you are insightful and compassionate but I fear this time your frustration is clouding your vision a little….and I say that with the greatest respect.

        Like

  9. mnuttall75 · July 9, 2013

    Reblogged this on SingleDad.

    Like

  10. Grandmani · July 9, 2013

    Jane is absolutely right.
    ‘The general public, have no understanding at all of this issue, I get the same reaction all the time,”Of course Dads can see their children.”
    We know that is not the truth, so how to get the truth out there?
    To get public support?’
    A friend of mine (ex-social worker) recently said ‘if I hadn’t known you and your family for so long I would never have believed your present situation ‘
    Having contacted my M.P a recent 2nd letter from Secretary of State Michael Gove stated ‘Legislation in the Children and families Bill aims to emphasise the importance of children having a continuing relationship with both parents following separation’
    Words,words words which lull general public.
    Yet nothing improves or changes
    Meanwhile Gove continues to anger teachers by his new proposals on teaching infants about fractions ,multiplication and history whilst ignoring the emotionally abused children in estranged families

    Like

  11. Jane Jackson · July 9, 2013

    Correct if I am wrong, and I am sure someone will!
    Surely we are all singing from the same song sheet?
    We all want to achieve children being part of a loving and meaningful relationship with both their parents and extended family.
    If we can’t all work together in some way or another, I despair.

    Like

    • Jane Moore · July 9, 2013

      We are Jane, we are! Sometimes it just seems as if we have an insurmountable mountain to climb.

      Like

      • Jane Jackson · July 9, 2013

        I know it is a mountain to climb, but better to start climbing than to wait at base camp! I owe it to my granddaughter and my sons daughter.

        Like

      • karenwoodall · July 9, 2013

        Imagine if, those of us on here today got our kit on and walked up that mountain together, helping others on the way as we did so…imagine if we three women pooled our energy and our knowledge and our ability to connect with the hearts and minds of other women and invited them to climb up that mountain too…imagine if, our kitchen tables were places where the mothers who become utterly fixated on the pain of separation could unfold their worries and concerns. Imagine if..those fathers who are wounded and hurt were supported and helped alongside those fixed and angry women..imagine if…those people who are helped this way are so glad that they have been helped that they want to join us on that mountain climb..imagine if…by the time we get to the top, those coming behind us find that the peaks are flattening and the road is getting easier…imagine if..we set up a family relationship centre that supports parents before they get to separation…imagine.

        Like

      • karenwoodall · July 9, 2013

        Janes,

        We are singing from the same hymn sheet, I am just asking you to imagine something different. Jane M, I do very similar work to you on a daily basis, I see it personally as well as professionally, I am not having a go at you, I am just asking you to imagine something different. What I dont understand is why asking you to imagine something different means that my vision is clouded or why writing about solutions in an imagine if post causes such concern. … Sit and think about a word which is different, what would it look like, what would be happening, who would be doing what, how would people be feeling? If that is not possible, ask yourself why it is not possible, is it because the constraints in the outer world have successfully prevented our inner freedoms too? Someone once said that you cannot make a revolution, you can only make other revolutionaries, and that revolution beins in the mind,p not on the streets. If the world we work in has stopped us from even being able to imagine if…. Think about what that means in terms of our psychology…are we bound to love our captors in our minds as well, destined only to fight, beg, plead, ask for and wait until someone tells us that its ok, the rules have changed…or are we free in our minds to imagine if…and all that comes with that… When I work with families I ask each parent to imagine if…this were different, you woke up and the conflict had gone, your magic wand worked and all of the troubles would be over…the one who can do that imagining is the one who is flexible in their mind, the ine who can’t remains wedded to the problem. But I am not having a go at anyone here, I am simply saying imagine if…. And wondering why it is so hard for people to do…..are our minds also captive and bound by the unfairness of the system we live and work in?

        Like

  12. Jane Jackson · July 9, 2013

    Solution Focus then Karen?

    Like

    • karenwoodall · July 9, 2013

      🙂

      Like

  13. Anthony Esler · July 9, 2013

    “On the one hand we have a multi million pound womens movement which sets the rules and manages them.”
    Now there you have hit on the nub of the problem Karen plus the ‘great & the good’ seem to believe that Liz Tindall is the Einstein of the family. Despite a plethora of research that says fathers are vital for the rearing of children (in your utopian world street gangs and all their associated crime etc would virtually disappear if children had fathers in their lives); no-one pays much attention to it cos Tindall says they are not necessary. How does the ‘fathers movement’ get parity of funding and how do we get the ‘great and the good’ to pay as much attention to say Karen Woodall as Tindall?
    I really have no idea!

    Like

    • karenwoodall · July 9, 2013

      Liz Trinder et al have ruled the roost of academia for so long that no-one really knows how to do anything differently. She isn’t the Einstein of the family, she is the architect of women’s rights as they are upheld through the family court system. How do we get people to pay attention to me? Well, for now I am just a thorn in the side of a system that self replicates on a year by year basis. But that thorn in the side, like the mosquito in the room, can do quite a lot of irritating if it not squashed or removed in some way. And that utopia that I imagine? Its just the world without the vested interests of the single interest groups. The world where dads are as valuable as mums and where, when the pain and the anger has settled down again, the family system picks up and strides on, changed, bruised, but functional, in a new way.

      Like

  14. Grandmani · July 9, 2013

    All the articulate contributors to this thread might send a SHORT letter via their MP to ‘Gove the Cove’ asking him why teaching fractions,multiplication and history is more important than the emotional abused millions of estranged children.
    Any song writers out there who could write a new version of the lyrics of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’?
    I’m just imagining! I haven’t got the skills and language but being retired I have got the time

    Like

  15. Anthony Esler · July 9, 2013

    Grandmani..don’t see the connection between fractions and estranged children..its not one or the other..they are both important. However your songwriting idea is a good one…if it was good and it got airtime…would certainly be a good PR exercise..now that is: ‘Imagining outside the box!’

    Like

    • karenwoodall · July 9, 2013

      Hurrah, we are doing it, keep it coming, however mad it seems, if our minds are free the possibilities are endless.

      Imagine if all the energy that goes into the horrendous fights in the family courts, went instead into helping parents to do it differently. Its only in our imagination, but imagine if……

      Like

  16. andy · July 9, 2013

    You don’t have to convince me Karen. We can spend forever and a day talking about a better future, and pitting our wits in Court against those who wish to oppose us, but the truth lies in the positive things that we do, and in our aspirations for harmony where there is discord.
    I think your imagination that aims to create that which is best in the family, is genius. Why didn’t I think of it.
    Let’s start with a pilot scheme. Create a new website, pool together like minded people, and begin to assert shared parenting as something we do both pre and post divorce. Get the healing processes to work.

    Last night I was proud to be at a meeting where there was respect for the notion of shared parenting. Parents understood the pain that their former partners might be going through, and the concerns they might have. In spite of the fears which caused such pain within themselves I felt their desire to reach out and heal.
    All they need is the tools for the job………………………….and we are the people to give them that very thing. (I include myself in the healing process because it is by working through the painful experiences of others that I have been able to manage my own pain and convert hurt into something more positive).

    As we become successful the government agencies will want to copy us and tell us it was what they always intended to do. Academics will look at new topics for their thesii which indicate they too think that family harmony as policy is something they proposed.

    Kind regards

    Like

  17. el dermo · July 10, 2013

    At the very least we have to have something to offer to parents at the start of their journey?

    The dad who will come to learn that hand overs are a minefield, that his car boot must contain more ready supplies than a troop ship heading for the south Atlantic and that his children may twitch like they have a thousand volts passed through their meagre frames or pretend to be asleep to cope with the anxiety of transition and conflict. Mine did.

    yesterday they came with Tupac pumped up and excitement about a fishing trip borne on their young lungs. those scars. still there. somewhere along the line the children and you become “old hands.”

    it beats me how mediation has become so popular. our mediator was a former trustee of a local woman’s aid centre. during the 9 months of “negotiation” mum muted a move to Australia. i mentioned Payne vs Payne during a session. The mediators comments were that it would be very difficult to do and if it did happen i could always stay in contact by Skype. It only cost me £1200. I am now in five figure debt.

    Treated with respect? the more i reflect on this the more bizarre it seems. could you imagine such an ethos or judgement being accepted if a NRP father wanted to move to OZ and take the children? It would be laughed out of court. I am booking the tickets for La Habana your honour?

    we are in the world of Kafka and inner city Trumpton.

    Imagine if…well imagine if you remove yourself from conflict. that no matter where you are on your journey or where you sit…no time or lots of it. i speak from the privileged position of a three overnights a fortnight dad. there are many who have less or nothing. they are my companeros and companeras. i have seen it. a dad who had 50/50 and lost his child (for now). A dad who had less than me. A NMO. A war. His children at university. a strong bond. A new relationship albeit years later and now a new arrival. His bond is there.

    i think the key would be to establish a blue print for reducing conflict. conflict hurts everyone. to establish a model that is tested, proven and accessible. It exists surely with CSF?
    There are a group of parents who we know who will struggle with change. there are reasons for that. insecurity, fear, warped attachments. For all that they do to us and our children their place in this world is not a happy one? it is as far from what we would wish upon anyone? even those who we consider our enemies at certain times, yesterday and even now and tomorrow? They love their children. They are in the lifeboat and our hands are cold clinging to the edges of our children’s future?

    we need society to change. the structures that we want to dismantle are there to break. Revolucion does not come from just the pigs being chased from the trough. the law. it comes from individual changes. behaviour. thoughts. dreams. And imagination. To that degree yes. Change can be engendered by individuals and how they perceive the world? Surely that is where it all starts?

    pebbles in a pond? of course. How do any major changes in society begin. I believe we have an advantage in that Joe and Josephine “six pack” already agree. The ethos is being driven from above not from below. Perhaps it will make our journey easier. if there is such a thing?

    A viable alternative that we could offer to families in conflict?

    Imagine if…well you know the Sierra Maestra are steep but others have walked them before. One day soon we will be walking down instead of up. our children will join us there. As sure as night follows day. We owe that vision not to ourselves but to our children. Its why we breathe each day. We are not alone in this.

    Si

    Like

  18. Grandmani · July 11, 2013

    Anthony
    My point was that Michael Gove seems to be giving much more time/energy to pushing his ideas for education than in helping estranged children.
    Glad you like the song-writing idea.
    My Daughter is a professional song-writer,teacher,voice coach.I’ll run the idea past her.

    Like

  19. andy · July 11, 2013

    In my imagination there are rooms where specific needs are met. That’s not to say there shouldn’t also be a holistic approach. The healing process takes on many forms and some will benefit more from some methods than from others.
    The rooms that immediately spring to mind might be entitled:

    1 Restoration of the self
    2 Empathy
    3 My plan, your plan and the making of our agreement
    4 Self respect and respect for you too and all that you hold dear
    5 I fear you and what you might do but I don’t hate you
    6 Plan B
    7 I’ve come to tell you my journey workshop

    I feel sure you will want to add your own special rooms, so feel free, it’s a big place that I’m thinking of, big enough to hold the whole family.

    Kind regards

    Like

  20. Anthony · July 12, 2013

    Hi Grandmani..if your Daughter could write it (with help from us?) I know a vg folk singer who might put it on her next album….?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s