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Description and Purpose of the Websites

1. What exactly are these websites?

The three websites are unique tools to help parents through difficult transitions.  Divorcing and divorced parents can find help at www.UpToParents.org.  Parents never married to each other can find help at www.ProudToParent.org. Parents intending to stay married but wishing to remember their children's needs as they work through marital problems can be helped by www.WhileWeHeal.org.

Each of the websites is a chance for parents to take an interactive timeout from their conflict to consider 50 Commitments they could make to their children in periods of conflict and stress.  Our experience in working with hundreds of families is that children have critical needs at such times, that only parents can effectively answer those needs, and that parents come out much better themselves when they make protecting children their highest priority.

2. Why did you create the sites?

In our counseling and mediation work with parents, we saw the startling differences parents were able to achieve for themselves and their children when they put their conflict on hold and focused for a time on their children's needs.

We originally had parents doing versions of these exercises on paper in packages that were mailed to them.  When we saw the difference that their work made, we chose these websites as the best vehicle to give this opportunity to all parents.

3. My co-parent and I were referred to www.UpToParents.org. Will it take a lot of work to do the website?

Precisely because it opens parents' eyes to all the opportunities they have to protect their children and to use that focus in making their own lives better, YES!

Interestingly enough, we have never had a parent complain about the effort required.  On the contrary, the overwhelming reaction we receive from parents who use these tools is one of excitement.

A good job on the Commitments and the four accompanying Exercises can take two hours or more--as much as a parent is willing to devote to this compassionate work.

4. We both did the website and liked it (and the Feedback and Agreed Commitments we received). What are the best ways we could be using the Agreed Commitments?

Doing the work on the websites begins with choosing the Commitments you think would be important and completing the four Exercises.  However, as with most other good things in this world, execution is the key.

Start by looking at the box of suggested uses at the beginning of your Agreed Commitments.  Parents who read and use the Commitments help their children and themselves!

5. Am I right that the Commitments are not to be used to take each other to court?

You're absolutely right.

The Commitments are guides for your better interaction, including the kind that will help you make your own decisions and stay out of court.

The websites try to make this clear in a couple of places, including in the closing pledge parents sign at the end of the Agreed Commitments:

We, Fran and Mendal, have each signed onto these Commitments
(1) because we see them as important to Benny and
(2) because we have pledged to observe them from now on
for his sake.

These Commitments are not for the purpose of taking each other
to court or attacking each other, should we slip
in observing any of them.  They are more important than that.
  They are our essential guides--ones we have chosen--
to help us in protecting Benny.
 If we slip in observing them, we will only work harder.
 We will love Benny all the more.  We will do better and better.

Persons Who Can Benefit from the Websites

6. What parents do you think professionals should refer to the sites, and how could they do so?

The Memo on our Professionals' Corner explains this in greater detail (and offers sample referral forms), but basically all parents in legal or personal conflict could usefully be referred to these sites.  These certainly include:

  • divorcing and divorced parents.
  • never-married parents in legal and personal disputes.
  • parents attending divorce, paternity, or parenting classes.
  • parents in counseling over marital issues.

7. Our children are grown. Can we benefit from using the website?

Absolutely.  Grown kids overwhelmingly want their parents to get along and be happy.

Some of the Commitments may not apply to your family, so you can simply leave those unchecked. (Remember, you don’t get any grade for the number of Commitments you choose; what matters is choosing the ones you think would be important to your children and yourselves, and then following through and building on your choices.)

8. I work at a shelter for victims of domestic violence. Would websites like www.UpToParents.org, www.ProudToParent.org, and www.WhileWeHeal.org be helpful for the people I work with?

We strongly believe the answer is Yes, but with one caution.

Victims of domestic violence should always have effective counseling when using any parenting resource, these websites included.

9. We have been divorced for over ten years. Can we benefit from using the website?

The answer is likely Yes!

It’s always bittersweet to read the regular comments we receive from parents saying they wish www.UpToParents.org had been around five, ten, and even twenty years ago.

We won’t mince words:  it’s important to get started early protecting your family.  However--while it is never too early, it is also never too late to do better.

Questions on Using the Websites

10. How can I use the website if I have no email account?

This is easy.

Use any computer with Internet access (most public libraries offer these), and our Sign In page will allow you to open a free YAHOO! email account in a minute or two.

11. I've decided I want to add [or delete] a child from the ones I originally listed when signing on. What should I do?

The website can't change the names you entered when you signed up. You can use the "unsubscribe" link from the opening email you received from us and then start over by signing on (with a new username) and entering the children's names you want to use.

12. My co-parent and I both finished the website.  From my Conclusion page I received a copy of our Agreed Commitments, but only my own responses to the four Exercises.  Why didn’t I receive a copy of his responses?  Didn’t he do them?

You can’t access your co-parent's responses to the four Exercises unless he makes a copy for you or gives you his username and password.

We intentionally set up the website this way, as many responses to the four Exercises can be quite personal.  We encourage you, however, to share both your Agreed Commitments and your Exercise responses with a counselor, clergy person, mediator, or other trusted person who could meet with the two of you and help you discuss your responses and plan your future co-parenting.

13. I forgot my username and password. What do I do?

From the Homepage, click on the large "Returning Visitors/Log In" button.  You'll be taken to a Log-In page where you can use the "Forgot Your Password" link.

14. I can't seem to get into the Exercises when I click on them.

We hear about this on rare occasions, and usually the problem is a so-called "Pop-Up Blocker" one.  Try holding down the control button while clicking on the Exercise.

If this doesn't work, the best idea is to log on someone else's computer with your username and password.  We're sorry you've run into this poblem, but almost always it is with a firewall or "Pop-Up Blocker" issue on the parent's computer.     

15. I'm having trouble logging back on to the website using my username and password.

There are three possible answers.

First, make sure that you are using the correct username and password.  You can check this by clicking on the "Forgot Your Password?" link.

Second, if you took more than 30 days, you will need to start over using a new username and password.

Third, responses are available for one year after a parent finishes the work.  If more than a year has passed, we encourage you to redo the site with a new username and password.

16. We've both finished doing the site. How do we merge our separate Commitments into a set of Agreed Commitments?

This is quite easy.  You and your co-parent will simply need to agree on a "Merge Term."  (It can be any combination of letters and numbers.)  Once both of you enter this Merge Term from your Conclusion Pages, you'll receive a link to a set of Agreed Commitments (the ones you both chose).  

Remember, you can always email info@UpToParents.org with any questions.

17. Since completing the website, there are some additions I would like to make to my answers. Is that possible?

You can add to (or change) your responses to Exercises A through D.  From the "Returning Visitor/Log On" button on the homepage, log on with your username and password.  You'll be taken to the Conclusion Page, at the bottom of which you can click on the particular Exercises you want to revisit.

18. The Court has asked for proof that I've actually completed my website work. How do I do that?

A link to a Certificate is available at the top of the Conclusion Page once parents finish the website.

If parents have already finished the work and logged off, they can reach the Conclusion Page by logging back in from the large "Returning Visitors/Log In" button on the homepage.

Every time you click on the link to the Certificate, an extra copy is sent to your email as well.  This ensures that you can copy that email even if you have trouble copying the Certificate.  Courts will accept either one.

19. Why does my Certificate showing completion not include last names for my children and me?  How do I show a court that the Certificate is authentic?

To protect your privacy and your children's, we ask no personal questions such as last names or case numbers.  Courts have accepted Certificates when accompanied by a letter or cover page or pleading stating last names and case numbers.  The Code and web address at the bottom of Certificates can be used to prove their authenticity.

20. How can I open interactive pdf forms while using a Macintosh computer?

Adobe pdfs that use interactive forms cannot be viewed with the default Apple pdf viewer called "Preview."  You can solve this problem by doing the following:

If you are using Safari:

  1. Download and install the latest version of Adobe Reader by clicking HERE.
  2. Move the Adobe Reader icon in your "Applications" folder to the "Dock."
  3. Open any pdf file.
  4. You should then get the following message: "Adobe Reader is not currently configured to be the default application for pdf files.  Would you like to make pdf files open with Adobe Reader instead of Preview?"
  5. Click "Yes."
  6. Close Safari.

If you are using Firefox:

  1. Download and install the latest version of Adobe Reader by clicking HERE.
  2. Open Firefox and go to the “Preferences” tab.
  3. Click the “Applications” button in the top row.
  4. Scroll down to the “Portable Document Format (PDF) and in the right hand column, click on the double headed arrow and make sure “Use Adobe Reader” is set as the default.
  5. Close Firefox.

If you are using Chrome:

  1. In the Chrome address bar, type chrome://plugins.
  2. Disable Chrome PDF Viewer.
  3. Close Chrome.