"This is so frustrating!  We don't communicate"

"Every time I try to talk about the kids we end up arguing about the past...Help!"

Child support?  How much? Shared parenting? Do I still pay?

Sound familiar?

We want to help

It's not about you.  It's about your children's right to have a relationship with each of you. Rather than going to court when there has been a breakdown in a relationship and communication, and enabling third parties who do not know you or your children to make decisions, consider:

Mediation:  work together as a team to reach solutions that benefit your children and their future.

Parenting Plans:  put the focus on the best interest of your child(ren), NOT what is best for you.

How does conflict impact our child?

What happens to our child hearing us and seeing us argue?

Early Childhood Development
Contrary to popular belief, the structure of our brains as they develop in early childhood is determined by much more than just our genes.  The experiences we have in the first years of our lives also affect the physical architecture of the developing brain.

Because brains are built in stages, it is crucial to get the early years right.  Just as a house needs a sturdy foundation to support the walls and roof, a brain needs a good base to support all future development.

Building better brains is possible by exposing your children to positive, nurturing interactions at a young age.  These positive experiences are the bricks that build sturdy brain architecture, leading to improved learning and behavior as well as better physical, mental and social well-being throughout life.

Give your kids those positive early experiences to allow them to build a strong and healthy brain.  Don’t allow your conflict with the other parent to interfere with your child’s positive development.  We know you want nothing but the best for your children so please...remove that conflict from your co-parenting relationship by using healthy communication skills, and working with a parenting plan that has been created to support your child’s needs.

What about stress and children?

Stress is one of the forces that shares brain architecture in a developing child.  Whether it strengthens or weakens the brain has to do with what kind of stress, the intensity, duration, and of course, what kind of supportive caregivers are present in a child's life.

Not all stress is bad.  Events that create positive stress, such as meeting new people or starting the first day of school, are healthy when supportive adults are around because they help prepare young brains and bodies for future challenges.

Other, more traumatic events, like losing a loved one, aren't good for us.  But again, if supportive caregivers are around to buffer the stress response, these situations will not do lasting damage to the brain.  We often refer to this as tolerable stress.

A third kind of stress can weaken the brain's architecture and can disrupt the healthy development of a child's brain.  We refer to this as toxic stress when no supportive caregivers are around to buffer the child's responses to repeated negative experiences.  Things that can cause toxic stress may include abuse, neglect, parental addiction, violence outside the home, or chaotic environments.  Young children who have been exposed to toxic stress can be at a much higher risk later in life for physical and mental health problems.

It is our job to ensure our children are safe from toxic stress, and if there is parental conflict between separated parents, we need to ensure this does not transfer onto the child as toxic stress.  Creation of a good parenting plan with clear boundaries, expectations and guidelines can help set the stage for a supportive parenting arrangement for your child with each parent.

With thanks to albertawellness.org

I was told by the police that I needed an emergency protection order, I didn’t know what that was or how to get it. I was scared, hurt and lost. A friend told me to call Heidi and am I ever glad I did. She met me at the court house, helped me with the paperwork and stood by me as I spoke to the judge. I thank my lucky stars every day that Heidi was there for me.