Why Do Lawyers Need “Talk To Strangers”?
Parents considering or involved in child-related litigation are exposed to a variety of materials designed to dissuade them from fighting battles that are so damaging to children. Talk to Strangers and its companion Parents Guide are meant to add a valuable new tool in that effort. Here’s why:
Taking the focus off misbehaving parents.
Videos and other materials offered to custody & access litigants often focus on parents behaving poorly. Many in the audience quickly lose interest in parents acting worse than they believe they ever would. Thus, many parents who need to hear the message, aren’t listening.
Talk to Strangers’ perspective is that of the children, not their parents. From that perspective, viewers can experience in an intimate way how children in custody disputes are compromised and humiliated even where the adults “behave.”
A more visceral approach.
Many appeals to parents intent on custody battles rely upon logic and statistics.# We professionals may be jarred by statistics showing the high incidence of emotional disorders among children of high conflict families. But for parents, the emotional pitch of custody battles too often drowns out the voice of reason.
Talk to Strangers was written with input from divorce lawyers (including the screenwriter), family services counselors and mental health professionals. Yet it employs a visceral approach; a dramatic story woven from poignant moments in the lives of two children.
Parenting education programs and courthouse presentations usually reach parents too late; often months after parents’ agendas have taken precedence over children’s best interests. As divorce cases wear on, “bunker mentality” and thousands spent on lawyers’ and experts’ fees reduce chances for compromise. And even in cases that eventually settle, the custody evaluation process has already taken its toll on the children.
The appeal to parents’ better instincts must occur earlier. Responsible matrimonial attorneys have a unique opportunity to make that appeal. That’s why we are offering the film and its companion Parents Guide to professionals before the general public.
Show, don’t tell.
Film has a unique ability to touch emotion through imagery and the kind of powerful score found in Talk to Strangers. Focus group reactions have shown that Talk to Strangers accomplishes that goal, not only with parents but with lawyers as well. And once that happens, parents are ready to follow the steps in The Parents Guide for crafting new co-parenting relationships.