Parenting tips midst a high conflict custody battle

PsychCentral recently published an article titled “How to help your children when their other parent is a narcissist”.  However, the fundamental parenting principles reccomended by clinical psychologist  Sharie Stines  can be applied to any parent in high conflict custody battle, or even parents who aren’t in any sort of family litigation at all. They are great concepts and make perfect sense.

  1. Honesty
    Always be honest with your children. Keep it age appropriate but ensure that they can rely on you throughout their lives as a trustworthy person and someone they can also expect the truth from.
  2. Education
    Educate your children any time anyone in their life emotionally distresses them, or is attempting to manipulate them. Show them that they are intelligent and provide all the support they need to address the issue. 
  3. Role Modeling
    You are no longer your teenage, or even mid-twenty-something self who can be carefree and drive around blasting “F The Police” by NWA. Eyes are watching everything you do, mimicking your actions and words. Start being the person you know you were meant to be, and the person you want them to look up to.
  4. Managing Anger
    Manage not only your own anger, but assist them in managing theirs. Look into things like meditation. Start thinking a little more about why you are angry. Show them that calm communication is the best route to finding a solution safely, and quickly.
  5. Reflection
    Connection with your children. Don’t just brush off their pain, struggle or emotional issues. Lean in and let them see that every single thing they are going through is affecting you as well. And that you will support them through it.
  6. Grieve Together 
    No matter the situation or reason. Show your kids that their pain is your pain. Hold them and help them understand that you will be there for them.
  7. Validation 
    Good or bad, what your children are feeling is really real. Show them that you believe them and understand that they are hurting.
  8. Safety 
    You should aim to program your brain to know that every decision you make going forward is first audited by it’s level of safety. Poor decisions can lead to major distress and issues. It can be one of the most difficult things you have to do if you are transitioning from a past lifestyle.
  9. How to Love 
    Love is real. Love is precious. Love is a gift. Teach your children that you love them, that love is to be respected and that love is unconditional.
  10. Self-Care 
    Let yourself be spiritual if you feel spiritual. Explore those options. Learn as much as you can to better your situation. Invest in your physical and mental health and let your kids know that you are doing it. Your children will be much better off if they are exposed to self-care, self-appreciation and self-awareness.