Co-parenting (sometimes called ‘shared parenting’) is an arrangement where both parents share responsibility for raising their children. Co-parenting contains the following characteristics –
- team work
- consistency for the children
These characteristics are especially important when parents are separated or divorced.
After a divorce its important to redefine and restructure your parenting role because you are now two parents living in separate households. You also need to learn to positively communicate with your ex-partner as a co-parent and not a partner, regardless of any hurt feelings that may exist between the two of you.
Co-Parenting Counseling brings both parents together in one room (without the children) – it helps get parents away from focusing on the ‘conflict’ between them, to a place where they can focus on the ‘children’ regardless of what issues caused the relationship to fail.
The bottom line? You may be divorced, but you are both bound together forever as parents. Communication about your children will continue well into adulthood, whether the discussions are school activities, driver’s licenses, prom, college, their weddings or grandkids. How this communication will take place in terms of being either positive or negative is entirely up to you.
One factor in how a child will develop over time often depends on how positive the parents interact and act as a team. Negative interactions between parents can have a profound influence on so many areas of a child’s development from interpersonal relationships, business relationships, romantic relationships, even the upbringing of their own children. Children do not want to hear someone talk negative about their mom or their dad. In addition, it is not fair for children to take on the burden of emotional stress because of the tension and negativity that exists between their parents.
Goals of Co-Parenting Counseling:
1. Help both parents recognize & see that their behaviors and attitudes will shape their children’s futures in many ways.
2. Help both parties learn to positively communicate, compromise and work as a team.
3. Create some form of consistency for the children in both households.
4. Keep negativity away from the children.
If a parent is still struggling with their own feelings of confusion, grief, anger, hurt or devastation due to their relationship ending – it is recommended that individual counseling also be sought to work through those issues.
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