Focusing Expectations

An interesting article on, “Expectations Great and Small” is recommended reading for those PDR practitioners, especially FDRPs.

Although focusing on workplace disputes, the parallels to parenting disputes are obvious as;

  • Parents are bound to seek a common goal because of their children;
  • Poor communication is usually the catalyst for parenting disputes;
  • Each parent is usually defensive of their position and critical of the other’s;

The goal (mutual interests) for the workplace mediation was interesting and again, one can see similar interests being a part of a FDR. To explain what is meant by that the following table is produced;

 Workplace Dispute Goals

 Parenting Dispute Goals

 Improve their self-control


 Improve self-control / anger management (especially in presence of children)

 Lower expectations from a relationship of “friendship” to one of “co-worker”


 Lower expectations that the co-parenting relationship will have any emotional attachment and move to a business-like co-parenting model

 Restrict communications to those necessary to get the job done

 Restrict all communications to necessary parenting arrangements and ESPR or other notifiable issues

 Be civil in communications

 Be civil in communications. Attend a POPs course.

 Avoid sensitive topics in communications

 Avoid sensitive topics in communications

 Eliminate insults


  If conflict arose in the future they would not share it with other co-workers

 Don’t communication issues / disputes via children

 If conflict arose, engage HR

 If conflict arose, engage in FDR

 Let go of issues that cannot be repaired or resolved

 Let go of issues that cannot be repaired or resolved


This is just an example as each parenting dispute is different but the concept of “tamping down expectations” and promoting ways to make the best of the reality of the situation will probably lead to more solutions and resolutions.