Karen had resigned herself to the constant bickering in her embattled household. “It was horrible!” She recalls of the eight-year friction with her ex-husband and the almost daily heated arguments with her 11-year-old son.
Child protection workers, responding to what turned out to be false claims from her ex-husband, had become all-too-regular visitors. Desperate to ease the toxic environment, Karen finally acknowledged the need for help.
To help her improve communication with her ex-husband and son, Family and Children’s Services (F&CS) referred her to CJI’s Family Centred Services—a program for families involved with child protection.
Karen attended weekly conflict coaching sessions with a CJI staff member. She learned skills to deal more constructively with challenges posed by her ex-husband, her son, and other difficult people. “It’s made a big difference,” she says.
While there is still work to do, she says the episodes of heated friction are becoming the exception rather than the norm. Even her son is beginning to buy into the new approach.
Karen and her ex-husband both used to try and win arguments. “In the end nobody won and my son lost. I’ve learned that it’s sometimes better to save your breath and to step away. And come back when you’re calmer.” That strategy has helped calm things down considerably. “If not for CJI it would have gotten a lot worse. I now know I don’t have to play that game anymore.”