What Is New Ways For Families

New Ways for Families is a structured parenting skills method intended to reduce the impact of conflict on the children in potentially high-conflict divorce and separation cases. It can be used whenever a parent or the court believes one parent needs restricted parenting time (supervised, no contact, limited time), at the start of a case or any time a parent requests it–including after the divorce.

This method emphasizes strengthening skills for positive future behavior (new ways), rather than focusing on past negative behavior – while still acknowledging it. It helps to protect children as their families re-organize in new ways after a separation or divorce, by teaching parents skills for long-term co-parenting. It can be used with married or never-married parents.

New Ways for Families is intended to teach parents the skills necessary to put their children first by improving their co-parenting skills and jointly making their parenting decisions out of court, which reduces the time the court must spend making decisions for them. When parents make their own parenting decisions, they are more likely to follow the agreements.

This method can be used in family court (as a requirement prior to the court making any decisions), mediation, collaborative divorce, pre-mediation coaching, or even post-divorce with the assistance of a Parenting Coordinator or High Conflict Case Manager.

Goals of New Ways for Families

  1. To immunize families against becoming high-conflict families during the separation and the divorce process.
  2. To help parents teach their children resilience in this time of huge and rapid change in the foundation of their family life
  3. To strengthen both parent’s abilities to make parenting decisions, while relying less on experts and the courts to make their decisions for them.
  4. To assist professionals and the courts in assessing both parent’s potential to learn new, positive ways of problem-solving and organizing their family after a separation or divorce.
  5. To give parents a chance to change poor parenting behaviors (including abuse and alienation) before long-term decisions are made. This method emphasizes learning new skills for positive future behavior.

How It Works By learning small skills in small steps, parents will learn to better communicate, manage their emotions, and make decisions that are in the best interest of their child. New Ways for Families teaches both parents the same 4 skills at the same time, thereby eliminating the parenting contest and the tendency to label one parent as the “good parent” and one parent as the “bad parent.” This method is based on the idea that both parents need to learn the exact same skills in order to effectively use the skills in the course of their co-parenting relationship.


Flexible Thinking

• Acknowledging that there is more than one solution to every problem

• Every concern about the past can be turned into a proposal about the future

• Making and Responding to Proposals


Managed Emotions

• Controlling your anger, sadness, fear, and anxiety so as to not over-react

• Protecting your children from your extreme emotions

• Calming Yourself with Encouraging Statements


Moderate Behaviors

• Avoiding extreme actions, language, and parenting requests

• Responding to hostile communications with a BIFF Response: Brief, Informative, Friendly, Firm


Checking Yourself

• Reminding yourself to use these skills during times of stress.

Program Models available at New Ways for Families is currently available

Each model has been adapted to fit easily into any family law setting, while the skills, goals and purpose are the same in each model: to teach 4 basic relationship and conflict resolution skills before big decisions are made, with the use of a client workbook. New Ways should, ideally, be completed prior to decision making, regardless of which model is used. However, parents can benefit from learning these skills at any time.

In all models, parents are required to complete workbook exercises throughout the course of the program. When participating in any of the in-person models, this will be done with the assistance of a professional.

There is a specific workbook for each model, so before purchasing materials, please review our program models to determine what materials are needed. Please contact us if you have any questions.




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