• Stephen Williams

Your Child Custody Experience – Your Circle of Influence (EXERCISE)

Updated: Jul 26

Who influences your life? How so? To what extent? Is this someone you’re stuck with, for better or worse, e.g., your child, hopefully? Is this someone you can minimize, whether presence-wise or influence-wise, in your life, like a manipulative Co-Parent, perhaps? When the talking heads on ESPN joke about an athlete living in an opponent’s head rent-free that might be more apropos to our own #ChildCustody and #CoParenting experience than we would like to think.


Wanna try an experiment? Make a spreadsheet on google sheets, no kidding, and list 5-10 people who have the greatest influence on your life, again, for better or worse, and in the next column rate their influence on your time, energy and emotions ranging from “minus 5” to “plus 5”, with “-5” being strongest negative influence and “5” being strongest positive influence and “0” being ambivalent (we say ambivalent because if 0 meant no influence then they would not be on the list). Make a copy of that same spreadsheet on a new tab in the same spreadsheet workbook but revise those numbers to your ideal level of their influence. (Maybe that includes getting someone off the list completely.)


Now, what can you control to get the real numbers to the ideal numbers? That might be cutting someone off the list, and your life, completely. That might be simply paying more attention to how someone near the middle, like a spouse or co-parent, might affect you and exerting more agency in that relationship. I don’t mean controlling the other person, but controlling your exposure to the other person, whether that’s less time with them or approaching that relationship differently.

~ What can you do to maximize those who have a good influence? Is there a grandmother with whom you need to have a weekly phone call to milk as much wisdom out of her as you can? I bet that grandmother would enjoy the time, too.


We know this might be overly analytical but, hey, we’re Child Custody lawyers and in our exceptionally emotional profession it’s helpful at times to think of folks as big, spongy math problems. We also know that whether you go all the way through this exercise or not just giving some thought to who might be living in your head or heart is better than blindly allowing these folks to control you and your approach to life, Child Custody and Co-Parenting.


If you would like to learn more about how you, as a Committed Parent or Caring Relative, can stand up for yourself and be more effective in your Child Custody case, please visit www.ThinkFoxtrot.com/public_calendars/ to schedule your initial consultation at one of our offices.


This article contains general information and should not be construed as legal advice for you and or your unique situation. ~SW, Foxtrot

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