Informal Settlement Conferences provided by KFPS

You know I”m sitting here and just thinking through how the KFPS program can help attorney’s and client’s here in the San Antonio area.  This is a different concept and many times I am asked, so what’s the benefit?  So as of today I’m adding something new to the KFPS service.  Lets say I get mom and dad in separately and provide education on how they can resolve and reduce disputes.  We get the kids in and do the kids seminars as well.  I then get the two client’s in a room with you attorney’s and we talk through what needs to be talked through.  We get them to focus on the issues at hand and minimize the existing conflict.

I would think reducing conflict would go a long way to streamlining exactly what issues are needing to be presented to the court.  We can come up with strategies of having expert’s involved to help with needed issues as well.

Kids First Parents Second…..An excerpt from “An Introduction to Cooperative Parenting” Matt Sossi, J.D.

As a society we are failing our children.  We have children who do not know their fathers or their mothers, grandmothers or grandmothers, aunts or uncles.  We currently have children going from one foster home to the next, exposed to third world conditions while living in the United States of America.  We have children without the hope of having a structured home environment.

A child without structure is a child without hope.  A family of whatever type present’s the best source of stability for a child, whether it is composed of a traditional nuclear family or an extended family.  A child’s basic needs are to be healthy, happy and live in a stable environment in they can thrive.

It is a gift for a child to have a family.  It is a gift for a child to have a mother, father, grandparent(s), aunts and uncles. The gift remains the same whether the family is a traditional nuclear family or an extended family composing of mother’s or father’s living in separate homes.   All that matters to a child is that the people inside the families provide him or her with love, emotional support and direction.  The child needs these things just as badly as they need air, water and food.  To not provide these things to a child is to affect their emotional development.  To not provide these things to a child is to affect how they will grow as adults.

It is the basic responsibility of a parent to ensure that the child is given a shelter, is well fed and given a stable environment.  It is also the responsibility of a parent to minimize conflicts in the child’s life to ensure that the child can develop into a healthy adult member of society.  It is a parent’s job to sacrifice one’s own personal interest’s to make sure that the child’s needs are addressed.  A parent’s conflict with the child’s other parent should never be superior to addressing the needs of their child.  Child first, parent second.

So in a family law context, we need to find a way to resolve parent child conflict in a much better way.  Parents must understand, from the onset of separation, that there is a need to communicate and a need to understand how they will interact for the benefit of the child.  Selfishness and hidden agenda’s will not only cost you lots and lots of money, it will earn you the hatred of your other spouse, and worst of all, a lifetime relationship with your child.

Mediation, an effective way to resolve future conflict?

Five years ago I went into mediation totally in control of the facts and the issues at hand.  The issues were somewhat complicated but the lawyer’s and mediators involved were trained professionals.  Within a three hour period we had the issues resolved and were proud to have an agreement that provided flexibility and (what we believed) a way to resolve future disputes.  Every single person in that room had an expertise in mediating disputes on behalf of their client.

We thought we had resolved future disputes between the parties concerning their issues.  We thought wrong.  Two minutes (it may have been one) after the parties signed the mediation agreement, I heard loud yelling and screaming.   The parties simply had found SOMETHING ELSE to fight about.  We shrugged our shoulders and left, some of us even chuckling – well that’s family law.  Does this sound familiar?  I’m certain that it does.

Five years later that mediation still bothers me.  These client’s needed lawyers, absolutely, but honestly they needed a therapist too.  It is amazing to me though that we can not come up with a stated structure to incorporate therapists into assisting the lawyers/courts to help resolve future conflict.

The focus always should be to help parent’s resolve future conflict.  Mediation alone will not accomplish this where the parent’s lacked the ability to communicate (extremely young – or hardly knew each other before the child was born).   Mediation is not going to undo hurt feelings, bitterness or anger.  The lack of communication skills are issues best presented and handled by psychologists and therapists.

Mediation’s normally take place in separate rooms and the individual’s talking are the mediator’s and the attorneys.  If you think about it, how would mediation’s ever create communication skills?  What do you expect these parent’s will do when they find something else to fight about?  What do you expect these parent’s to do when they ran out of money paying lawyers and mediators?  What effect do you think unresolved conflict have on kids n divorce?

Conversely, the obvious benefit of mediation is it facilitates the end of issues that are presently confronting the parents.   Mediation ends conflict when and all possible.  Mediation is a necessary component to resolving parent conflict, but it is not the holy grilled cheese sandwich that resolves the problems these parent’s have now and in the future.

KFPS Materials – Divorce Seminars

KFPS KIDS SEMINAR’S

Required Materials

 

Group One – “Little Fruits” – Kids 4-5:

A Large Adult Shoe Box\similar dimension

Favorite Pictures of Parents’\Family Members

Required Reading:  Mommy Daddy Troubles

 

Group Two:   Rainbow group– Kids Ages 6 through 10:

A Large Adult Shoe Box\similar dimension

Favorite Pictures of Parents’\Family Member

Journal

Divorce Manual (provided at time course is provided)

Group Three:   Rainbow Kids – Pre-Teens   11-14

Pictures of Family members

Journal

Breaking up Our Kid Groups – KFPS

BREAKING UP OUR KIDS GROUP

Little Fruits (Ages 4-5)

          Kids coming into KFPS who are between the ages of 4-5 will be part of our little fruit group.   Every one of our little fruits will receive 1. a copy of our kids book “Mommy Daddy Troubles” 2.  KFPS’ Amazing book of coupons, 3. Our KFPS, “Kids First” Certificate.

Our kids  will first sit down and play an “identify emotion” card game.  Kids will compete and “match emotion cards” until all cards are off the table.

Little fruits will meet together for a round table discussion to talk about how the problems little fruit faced when his parent’s divorced.”  Our kids talk through Little Fruit’s adventures and answer the question – what gives me courage?.

Kids are taught how to look at calendar, how to use sticker’s to mark when it is time to see Mom and Dad (visitation periods).  Kids taught different ways to talk to parent’s – skype, facetime, etc..  Kids also taught how to take the path to courage game on our kidsfirstparentssecond.org website.

Parent’s Note:  We would ask that our Little Fruit kids come to our seminars with the following materials:

 

  1. A Large Adult Shoe Box\similar dimension
  2. Favorite Pictures of Parents’\Family Member

RAINBOW GROUP (6-10)

Kids coming into KFPS who are between the ages of 6-10 will be part of our rainbow group. Our Rainbows will be provided our kids-n-divorce manual, our kids first certificate as well as our amazing book of coupons.

We ask our rainbow group to draw pictures, and at times mimic the faces shown in emotion card games.  We teach our rainbows to identify emotions so they can understand and manage their own feelings of anger, sadness and worry.

The first part of this seminar is lo teach kids what to do with their emotions of anger, sadness and worry.  The second part of our kids’ seminar includes a divorce survival workshop and talks about what it will take to follow “the yellow brick road” living with purpose and finding individual happiness.

 

          Parent’s Note:  We would ask that our Little Fruit kids come to our seminars with the following materials

  1. A Large Adult Shoe Box\similar dimension
  2. Favorite Pictures of Parents’\Family Members

Say it Loud, Say it Proud!

Pre-Teens (11-`14)

          Our pre-teens (11-14) will be asked the most of by any other group at KFPS.  It is this age group that we are our group to open up – say how they are feeling with a loud clear voice.  We will be engaging this group in varying activities.  These kids will be able to voice thought and feeling through different forms of expression whether it be through skits, song, poems or writing.    The best skits/songs and poems and/or letters will be posted on our KFPS youtube channel, and available for viewing by the general public – provided parental consent is provided.

Message:    Bring your talents, make a statement, change your world.

SPECIAL PROGRAM

I’m just a Kid! (6-11)

       The “I’m Just a Kid” portion of our seminar is one which in we would ask be requested in advance of our seminar. “I’m Just a kid” is a specific program to help deal with situations when kids exposed to inappropriate behavior by parent’s in a divorce.. We do not want every child to take this portion of the KFPS kid’s seminar. Children attending our special class will be provided a special “I’m Just a kid” survival manual.

“I’m just a kid” helps children know what to say when they hear hurtful comments about mom or dad.  I’m Just a Kid  helps kids understand that they are neither a 1.  Secret Agent, 2.  Messenger or 3.  Master Spy. “I’m just a kid” give’s kids a way to ask their parents to respect their wishes to love both of their parents equally.

“I’m just a kid” promotes our concept of a “Kids Zone” –  one in which the children’s relationship with both parent’s is respected and not interfered with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KFPS Newsletter January 2015

KIDS FIRST PARENTS SECOND JANUARY 2015 NEWSLETTER

We have begun our kids seminar’s with great success.  We are now in the process of learning, educating ourselves based on the reactions we observed from both children and parents of the project.

So we have our first official pat on the back.  The question for KFPS is what’s next?  We discovered a few things by reviewing the work of both Duncan Fisher and Emma Cohan.   Both of these fine individuals are leading the charge in England on helping kids cope with divorce.  England has recognized that they must direct resources to help kids whose parents have divorce.

Duncan Fisher has come up with an idea of integrating social media platform to getting kids of divorce to share their views and opinions.  Kids will share songs, poems, on line.  For pre-teen and early teenagers, I believe Duncan’s vision will be the ultimately be the approach to giving older kids a forum express/manage their feelings.

Emma Cohan is in the midst of preparing a program in England to help their younger kids cope with divorce.  It was refreshing to talk to Ms. Cohan who had the idea of creating COUPONS for kids.  In Ms. Cohen’s setup, kids would get a free coupon to receive a kid should they be having a down day.

It’s interesting, or perhaps sad, that Emma’s has yet to receive the funding needed to launch her program.   We wish her and Duncan all the best in their current efforts.

We used the coupon concept shops and added a few of our own ideas.  First, kids received a kids night out coupon.  Second, kids received a kids pass.  Kids loved the idea of a kids night out, a night just for them, free of divorce conflict.  Kids also loved the idea that they would have the right to see mom or dad when it was not their scheduled time.  Parent’s (at least our parents) liked the idea of giving their kids some control over how they could manage their day to day lives during and after divorce.    So coupons, who knew?

Parents, we invite you to visit our website at kidsfirstparentssecond.org.

Professionals, we invite you to visit our word press site at mattsossi.com and join our sound off blog.

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Little Fruit Phone Home-  Matt and Becky Sossi

Release- Spring 2015

Little Fruit Phone Home is the second book of our little kids big challenge series.

In Little Fruit Phone Home, our main characters are divorced and living in separate homes. When mom tries to call little fruit at dad’s house she finds out that he’s not so willing to talk on the phone.  Little Fruit in fact complains about how dad makes him do the dishes, clean his room and clean his clothes.  Little fruit wonders when he will see his mom and what they will soon do. Mom reminds little fruit that chores are things that are done at both mom and dads.  Mom also tells little fruit that she will soon be seeing little fruit and that they will have fun, at their new home or at the local zoo.

Later little fruit goes over to Mom’s house and gets a call from his Dad.  Little fruit first complains to his Dad about how unfair life is at Mom’s.  When little fruit’s dad supports mom’s position, little fruit demands to know why his parent’s divorced anyway.

Little fruit goes over to his grandma’s house totally lost.  Grandma talks to little fruit about the need to share his thoughts. Grandma explains that it is hard at times to express one’s feelings.  Grandma gives advice to little fruit on how to communicate and express himself.  Little fruit thanks his grandma, telling her “Remember I’m just a kid, and kids need to know that they are safe so they can grow, grow, grow grow!”

The book’s purpose is to help kids understand that too will be lost in the emotional upheaval of their parent’s divorce.  Kids will need to know who to turn to so they can be given directions so they can focus on how they are truly feeling.

The book’s secondary purpose is to help parent’s and grandparent’s understand a few things. Number one, kids of divorce are affected greatly by their parent’s divorce.  Number two, kids may not be able to simply talk through their feelings to their parent’s about the divorce.       Number Three:  Grandparent’s need to understand that they can be that special person their grandkids can turn to and provide much needed direction and guidance.

It is our hope that our books will help kids learn how to express themselves after divorce.  It is also out hope that our books will help kids learn to locate that one safe person they can talk to share their feelings.
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 Excerpt: The A-Z guide to Cooperative Parenting

Matt Sossi J.D. (Available for Purchase at Amazon.com)

Chapter One: Avoid useless conflict

…….

Many divorced parents fall into adversarial relationships with their ex-spouses because they simply lack sufficient training to learn how to effectively communicate.  Blindly following your court order most likely will not allow you to resolve every potential conflict that you and your ex will face as your child grows and develops over time.  Effective communication skills is a learned process and may even require the assistance of counselor’s and/or psychologists.

It is important to address the many factors that incite conflict. The most common reason for conflict is that the parties lack emotional closure.  Conflict is created as a means by which these people interact and attempt to assert power over the other.

………

People also will not abandon conflict because of their stubborn need to be right. Some individuals are so entrenched in the notion that they are right that they abandon reason and effective compromise over disputes regarding their children. Disputes are assessed by wins or losses, and not by what action needed to be done to address the child’s needs.

Conflict hurts kids both in the short and long term. Children emotional development will suffer if parent’s can not agree to resolve their differences.  Children will suffer anxiety, low self esteem and depression when parent’s go to war.  Children from combative divorce parent’s will have trouble maintaining healthy relationships, effecting their abilities to be happy and loved.

Prolonged conflict comes at a great personal cost. Your individual cost may also include potentially losing your relationship with your children over the long term. Simply put, there is no benefit to maintaining a course that puts you in constant conflict with your ex.

It is important to learn how to cooperate and effectively handle disputes between you and your ex from the onset.  People who have experienced years of constant conflict feel trapped and saddened by the entire experience, understanding too late the cost of their actions.

If you want to remove continuous conflicts with your ex, change what you are doing and how you are acting. Remember the reason why you divorced in the first place. Why put yourself in a situation that creates the very conflict you swore that you would never go back to?

So, in a nutshell, avoid useless conflict. When presented with a situation, use every opportunity you have to be the deal maker, not the deal breaker.

Good Riddance Day – What will it take to end conflict?

For those of you not in the know, Good Riddance day is an event in which people post a one word statement on something you are saying goodbye to.  In the traditional sense, people would say good riddance to obesity or anger.  It is simply a brilliant idea.

So we apply this concept to our divorce seminar’s for our parents. Good riddance day will force parents to focus on what they need to get rid of to avoid conflict.

If conflict hurts’ your kids, why are you doing it?  Are you still angry at your ex for the causes of the divorce?  Are you putting your kids in the middle of conflict because of this anger?   What do you need to say good riddance to so you can get your kids out of a high conflict situation.

So Good Riddance day creates an environment that tells parent’s it’s not okay to place their kids in the middle of conflict.   Hey, anything helps right?