When parents inquire about potential counseling for their children, Mary Jane often recommends that the first step is to meet with the parents to see what changes in the family dynamic can be effected through the parental unit rather than unintentionally "identifying" children as the "patients".  Children and adolescents who have individual issues unrelated to the family unit are often referred to specialists in those areas.  Mary Jane believes that a unified parental unit as well as consistency in the home is key in raising well-adjusted children, whether parents are married living in the same home or divorced living in two homes.  

Parenting styles often differ between parents, which can cause discord among family members, especially the children.  Common parenting styles originally defined by Psychologist Diana Baumrind include:

  • Authoritarian (a parents-know-best approach that emphasizes obedience) Too Hard
  • Permissive (which provides few behavioral guidelines because parents don't want to upset their children) Too Easy
  • Authoritative (which blends a caring tone with structure and consistent limit-setting)  Just Right.

Mary Jane has fulfilled the requirements to be a court-appointed Parenting Facilitator and is also certified as a Texas Mediator as well as a Family Mediator in the state of Texas.  Parenting Facilitation is a court-ordered process for co-parents in high-conflict divorce situations who need assistance disengaging from their disputes with one another and refocusing on addressing the needs of their children. The idea behind Parenting Facilitation is to help keep divorced co-parents out of court by empowering them to solve their own issues. Genevieve Clapp, author of Divorce & New Beginnings, said this about divorce and children:  “Perhaps one of the most startling discoveries of divorce research is the devastating repercussions that prolonged parental conflict can have on children.  Unfortunately, for many children, their parents’ conflict does not end with the divorce.”

Mary Jane’s duties as a Parenting Facilitator include helping co-parents to:

  • Identify disputed issues
  • Reduce misunderstandings
  • Clarify priorities
  • Explore possibilities for problem solving
  • Develop methods of collaboration in parenting
  • Understand and implement parenting plans
  • Comply with court orders regarding conservatorship
  • Settle disputes regarding parenting issues and reach a proposed joint resolution or statement of intent regarding those disputes.

Mediation is an informal, private process in which an impartial person facilitates communication between two parties in a conflict and strives to promote reconciliation, settlement, or understanding. Mediation is absent of any court reporters, any record of proceedings, and no rulings are made on the issues or the merits of the case.  Mediation proceedings are confidential unless the participating parties agree otherwise or as required by law.  The ultimate goal of mediation is to produce a Memorandum of Understanding between the participating parties in the settling of a pending dispute, to be  approved by the attorneys for each party.