The New Ways for Families® (NWFF) method is a short-term structured parenting skills program designed to reduce the impact of conflict on the children in potentially high-conflict separation and divorce cases. NWFF teaches parents the skills they need to put their children first and to protect them as the family re-organizes itself in new ways around positive behaviors after a separation or divorce.
Each session in the program allows parents to learn and practice one of four key conflict resolution skills, and teaches them to use these skills before big decisions are made. The four skills are:
- Flexible thinking
- Managed emotions
- Moderate behaviors
- Checking yourself
In addition to their work with their own individual therapist learning to use the skills with each other, both parents teach their children the same four sets of skills in the presence of a child therapist. In understanding the new ways that the family will function in the future, children become more resilient to the experience of divorce.
With these new skill sets and the help of trained professionals, parents are encouraged to work together outside of a courtroom to arrive at their own parenting agreements. All the while maintaining their focus on positive future behaviors rather than on past negative behaviors. When parents are able to make positive and healthy parenting decisions for their children, it eliminates the possibility that a judge will make those decisions for them.
NWFF gives parents skills to co-parent together for the long-term. Learning and practicing the skills in the NWFF program increases the likelihood that parents will continue to use these skills as future co-parenting issues and conflicts arise. As a result, NWFF saves the family courts time and saves parents money otherwise spent in litigation.
This method can be used with married or never-married parents. It can be used in all areas of family law: court cases, mediation, and collaborative divorce cases. It can be used at any point in the decision-making process for child-related matters. It can be used prior to any legal involvement. It can be used with families after a divorce to reduce conflict between parents as they attempt to negotiate both big and small decisions related to the parenting of their children. It can also successfully be taught as a part of individual or family therapy.
New Ways for Families® is a program that was developed by attorney, mediator, and therapist, Bill Eddy. NWFF is a part of the High Conflict Institute based in San Diego, CA. As a licensed NWFF provider, I can teach you the NWFF method of making parenting decisions and assist you in teaching them to your children. As a NWFF trainer, I teach other mental health professionals, lawyers, and judges to use the model with high-conflict divorce cases. I am also a speaker and educational consultant for the High Conflict Institute. I have been actively involved for several years in bringing the NWFF method to the Austin metro area and serve on the steering committee guiding that process.