Saturday, January 01, 2005

The rope-a-dope strategy

My custody situation is depressing, so I look for encouragement whereever I can find it. I just bought a bunch of fathers-rights books. Unfortunately, they mainly confirm the bad news I've discovered already.

I did like this suggested strategy on page 242 of Custody for Fathers: A Practical Guide Through the Combat Zone of a Brutal Custody Battle.

A father caught up in a raging custody battle should know when to pull back and take cover. After surviving the blast, he can then reassess, regroup, and rearm. When mom is in a knockout mentality, she is not open to negotiations. Dads' ability to the knockout is what will force mom into negotiating a settlement. Muhammad Ali very successfully defended his heavyweight championship title against the younger, stronger George Foreman by covering, blocking, conserving energy, and then knocking out fatigued Foreman. Ali called his strategy rope a dope.

Think of a custody battle as a 15 round prize fight where the winner is not decided until the final round. Moms generally win the first 5 rounds of a custody battle. The traditional mom bias gives her an advantage in the early stages of litigation.

Note: A father's strategy during the first 5 rounds is to hang tough, avoid a knockout, remain standing, and be prepared to address the real issues.

The rope a dope strategy is the correct counter maneuver to guerrilla warfare in the early rounds. Responding in kind will be tempting, as the reflexive tendency to defend mom's charges by an aggressive counterattack is only natural. Dad must understand that mutual combat only feeds into her charges of immature behavior. This is the time to act restrained and polite. However the planning and strategizing phase should begin immediately by: Compiling important data, taking photographs, keeping a diary and gathering witnesses.

A custody battle is very expensive, time consuming, and exhausting. You want to survive the experience without depleting your bank account and with your dignity in tact. A never-ending conflict has no winner and the children are the biggest losers.
The strategy doesn't work in boxing ring very often, and probably doesn't work very often in family court, but I can only hope.

I also just got some encouragement from the movie The Aviator. It portrays Howard Hughes as a mad genius who is nearly driven out of business by rival Pan Am airlines. Pan Am lobbies Congress to grant it a monopoly on international flights. When Hughes stubbornly refuses to concede, he is forced to testify before the Senate and endure a lengthy character assassination. He proudly sticks to his principles and ultimately convinces the public that it is better served by two international airlines than one.

Update: Mike writes:
Then googling "sandplay" turned up a surprising number of links. Never heard of it before, so I can't wait to hear what my wife knows about it and whether anyone uses it at her center.

It is surprisingly hard to find negative comments on it. This article at least mentions the issue of whether its value should be reviewed.

I did, however, find sites from which you could order sandboxes in the precise recommended sizes. Perhaps replacing the girls' box in the backyard with one of these sanctioned ones would improve your standing in court.

Well, here's hoping this year will be better for you than the last. Happy new year.
Thanks. Psychologists are completely overrun with quacks, I am afraid.

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