page introduces the idea of a co-parenting
in both co-parenting and Parenting Coordination
services will be asked to provide an agenda via
email, copy to all participants, at least 24
hours in advance of the scheduled service.
certain to include your name, the family name
(if different from your name) and the date of
the upcoming meeting on your agenda.
agenda should not include full sentences, proper
grammar or emotions. The goal is to create a
brief, bulleted list of child-centered items
that should be resolved. State the item, not
your opinion. For example, "extra-curricular
activities" rather than "I think he should play
agenda items in priority order. Health and
safety issues always come first.
create a new agenda for each meeting. Do not
rely on the agenda from the last meeting as it
is not likely to reflect your current concerns
to the meeting with any relevant data (e.g.,
dates, times, places, costs, websites or print
materials to learn more).
1. Be business-like. Co-parenting
and parenting coordination are not
psychotherapy. Both are child-centered,
agenda-driven interventions. They are
both conducted like a business meeting,
where the business is the child's
well-being. Topics are determined by the
agendas that participants provide in
advance on each meeting.
2. Be proactive. A co-parenting
agenda is a short list of
child-centered, forward-looking topics
that might be covered in a co-parenting
or parenting coordination meeting.
3. Be timely. Dr. Garber will
typically ask that all participants in a
scheduled meeting deliver an agenda to
all (including Dr. Garber) via email at
least 24 hours in advance of meeting.
4. Be concise. Agendas
should include 3 or 4 simple,
clear factual statements. For example,
"summer camp" or "asthma inhaler" or
"next orthodontist appt." Your purpose
is simply to identify the topic. No commentary is
necessary. Do not list
everything you believe needs attention.
5. Be polite. Write
your agenda the way that you might write
to a trusted colleague or boss. "Please"
and "thank you" can help. Asking rather
than telling or demanding often works
6. Your emotion belongs
elsewhere. Agenda items must NOT
be emotional. Avoid blame, shame and
guilt. This usually means NOT including
phrases like "why did you...?" and "I
can't believe that ...!" and any words
that might be read as hurtful, demeaning
or abusive. Some participants find that
waiting five minutes after writing and
before sending or asking a trusted adult
to preview your agenda can help minimize
7. Pick your battles. The
goal is not to win or be dominant or
take control. The goal is to raise a
healthy child. Before you write your
agenda, ask yourself which battles are
worth fighting and which are better
8. Respect boundaries/Do not
micromanage. You are in charge
when your child is in your care. Your
co-parent is in charge when your child
is in his/her/their care. You can make
suggestions and requests, but you have
no authority to change anything that
goes on in your child's other home.
9. Prioritize. Agenda items
should be listed in priority order from
most important to least. Higher priority
items will include matters of health and
safety and time-urgent matters. Higher
priority items are more likely to be
addressed in the next meeting, while
lower priority items may be delayed and
carried over to subsequent meetings.
10. Protect your kids.
Children should not be aware of
these agendas or the process of the
meetings unless specifically decided in
11. Follow-though. Make a
special effort to comply with any
decisions or agreements made in
co-parenting or parenting coordination.
Put "checking in on [agreement]" in
subsequent agendas to make sure that
we're all following through.
In the end, the key to writing a
successful agenda and to participating in a
successful co-parenting or parent coordination
service will be your determination that you love
your kids more than you dislike your co-parent.