Premise - effective parents learn...
what each of their dependent kids need,
how to fill each need while not
neglecting their own needs, and...
how to maintain an effective
co-parenting team to fill
their and their kids' needs in a dynamic world.
Do you agree? Lesson 6 in this Web site
proposes options for achieving these three vital goals. This
article focuses on the first goal: how to assess where your kids stand with their
unique mix of needs. .
Your family adults
need to evolve clear, consensual answers to...
When should we assess our
Who is included in our family?
Who will participate, and who
are we going to assess?
What preparation do we need
to do our needs-assessment well enough?
What specific questions are
we trying to answer?
What should we do with our results?
How will we resolve (inevitable)
disputes during this family childcare project?; and...
How can we all optimize our efforts
together over time?
Let's look briefly at each of these...
Should We Assess Our Kids' Needs?
Whether you're courting, committed, or veteran
co-parents, your young and grown kids need you
adults to begin this needs-assessment now! This is specially
true if parents just separated and/or began cohabiting with a new
Every day that passes without you adults (including
grandparents) learning your kids' status on their sets of developmental
and adjustment needs increases their risk of developing psychological
Because people, families, and the environment constantly change, your
kids need you adults to re-evaluate their needs and status regularly.-
e.g. at birthdays or around New Years.
in Our Family?
Members of typical
families can disagree on who "belongs." After divorce and/or
re/marriage, some (wounded) kids and adults may insist that ex mates and
their kin are no longer included in "our family." Some bitter, insecure
ex mates can exclude their former mate's new partner (a stepparent) and
their kids and relatives.
If anyone in your family c/overtly excludes any adults who have an
impact on your dependent kids, see these
options. Option - draw and
(diagram) of who comprises your current family. Do so from your kids'
point of view. If you have
significant membership disagreements, see
Who Will Participate, and Who Will Lead?
all adults in your kids' multi-home family will take part. Many
factors can prevent this ideal. Your option is to accept that, and say
"Starting with bioparents and stepparents,
how many of our
family adults are genuinely interested in helping with this important needs-assessment?
If some adults are blocked
from supporting your kids by various
your options include
(a) ignore them; (b) appeal for their help, for the
kids' sakes; (c) scorn, ridicule, and reject them; or (d) keep them
respectfully informed of what you're trying to do, why, and what's happening
as you progress.
Someone has to take responsibility for doing this assessment project or
it won't get done. Do you have a leader yet? If so, what do you know of
this leader's primary needs and motives?
How does the
this family leader (authoritarian, democratic, decisive, inconsistent,
empathic,...) affect the motivation and cooperation of your other
caregiving adults? Does s/he acknowledge being the leader? Is s/he
comfortable with that role? What help does s/he need from the rest
of you? From knowledgeable outsiders? The alternatives are leadership by
committee, or no effective leadership.
Which Kids Will We
"each minor and
grown child of each of our co-parents, including any stepparents."
Beware assuming that an apparently-happy,
"well-adjusted" child is mastering all their many concurrent needs! This
is because well-meaning
are adept at
and unmet needs from the host person
and other people.
Preparation Do We Need?
To be effective at assessing kids' status with their many needs,
divorcing family and stepfamily adults need to adopt a long-range view,
and study and discuss...
(or 7, if you're in a stepfamily); including...
symptoms of psychological wounds (Lesson 1),
how to judge if an adult is
by their true Self - and if not, how to
their Self; and...
of incomplete grief (Lesson 3);
the lethal [wounds + unawareness]
resolve most relationship
kids' developmental and
family-adjustment needs; and...
how to talk
well with typical kids and teens.
Once you've studied these, your adults are in a position to draft a
meaningful long-term family
together as a framework to guide you all. Option - to gauge your
knowledge, take and discuss these
Also - many divorcing parents and some new mates have trouble
maintaining co-parental respect and cooperation because of problems like
If this is so with your family adults, your kids need you all to admit
these problems and work to reduce them - for their sakes. To do
this, you all need to want your true Selves to guide you (Lesson
1) and to gain fluency with effective communication skills (Lesson 2).
Pause and reflect: are you willing to prepare like this? Are your
other family adults and supporters? If not, lower your short and
long-term co-parenting expectations.
What Are We
The most important
thing to assess is whether each nurturing adult in your
by their true Self or not. Use
this for an initial
evaluation. If one or more adults is ruled by a false self
(psychologically wounded), that raises the odds of
significant family dysfunction and wounding your kids. See
Lesson 1 for healing options.
The other major cause of ineffective parenting is adult ignorance (lack
of knowledge). Gauge your adults' knowledge on key topics with these
Next, assess the recent
of your child's home/s and multi-home family (low to high). Use this
worksheet to do so. Option -
use this worksheet for more
perspective. Discuss your results together as teammates, with your kids
If you decide your nurturance level is too low (and your "dysfunction"
too high), take a long-range view and commit to improving your
level together with the resources in Lessons 1 thru 6 or 7. Your kids
will have an easier time filling their needs if you do, and your
parenting stress will drop.
Next, assess and discuss the
status of each child with their set of ~25
developmental needs. Depending on each child's age and unique
abilities, you'll conclude "s/he is progressing well enough" with all
age-appropriate needs, or "s/he needs our help with (specific needs)
Finally, if a child's bioparents divorced or died, assess the
youngster's status on their set of these
family-adjustment needs. Because
all these needs are concurrent, you may want to prioritize them and
focus on the most important ones.
If this seems like a lot of work - it is. Keep motivated by
steadily imagining your end goal - feeling great future satisfaction in growing
a healthy, well-adjusted independent young adult guided by his or her
Do We Do With Our Results?
multi-level assessment aims to identify (a) which family adults may need
education and healing to improve their parenting effectiveness, and (b)
where each child needs specific adult help.
need to reduce psychological wounds and/or get educated use Lesson 1 to
evolve a meaningful personal recovery plan. Study Lessons 1 thru 6 or 7
to raise your knowledge and awareness. If you feel that another family adult needs to
psychological wounds and/or ignorance, see these
Use your assessment findings to evolve
to clarify and document your responsibilities
and goals. Also discuss your findings with any teachers, tutors,
mentors, coaches, and clinicians working with each assessed child.
How Will We
Resolve Disputes in Assessing Our Kids?
Your needs-assessment process may be hindered by...
among your adults - specially between ex mates,
Follow the links to learn how to reduce
and manage these stressors. Also refresh yourselves on how to
resolve typical relationship
problems. Use the seven communication
and share copies of these
worksheets to help you all stay focused and effective