Co-Parenting Counseling is a specialized form of counseling for parents who are divorced, getting divorced, already divorced, or separated and no longer living together and need to work together to continue to parent their children.
Co-parenting often involves more communication that Parallel Parenting. Much of the co-parenting decisions depend on your legal or mediated divorce arrangements and who has legal and physical custody of the children. Co-parents work together communicating about the care of their child and the social, emotional needs. Sometimes co-parents agree on similar house rules, but many times having different house rules, as enforcing punishments in different homes is nearly impossible.
Co-parents that are able to navigate their own emotions and keep the children out of being in the middle of the conflict or blaming the other parent when things aren’t going well for the child (or with their relationship with their child) – have happier, healthier children.
Usually, the patterns that broke the marriage apart have not been addressed and it’s easy to remain locked in the same conflicts as before as well as gain new trigger points due the pain, loss and grief that divorce brings all family members.
Co-parents who have used mediators or a Collaborative Divorce approach are much more likely to be able to navigate the rocky road of co-parenting. Those that relied heavily on the courts and have had a contentious divorce or when there is a High Conflict Personality involved are better-off with Parallel Parenting and less communication on a weekly basis. Miserably, the children are often caught in these emotional tug-of-wars and not only feel the loss of life as they knew it, but the loss of support from an emotionally balanced parent.
WHO NEEDS CO-PARENTING COUNSELING?
- PARENTS WHO WANT TO CO-PARENT WELL AND UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER BETTER: Role model conflict resolution: all children are going to face having to handle working with someone they don’t like or agree with in their future whether it’s a teacher in school, a student and a school project or later in life in the business world. One positive life-skill that come out of divorce is co-parenting well with continued respect for the other partner and using solid conflict resolution skills.
- THOSE RESPONDING TO A COURT ORDER: Parents can be referred by the courts when they’re unable to co-parent effectively and need help de-escalating and creating strategies as they adjust to a new life situation.
- CO-PARENTS WHO WANT A PARENTING PLAN:
- Discussing difficult issues such as: needs of children, who will live where, logistical issues, education, health, therapy for the child, and activities.
- We create structure which children need to feel safe, and some consistency around bedtimes, schoolwork, getting kids to activities, and working together when parents want vacation time. When children know the logistics are handled and who is picking up and dropping off then insecurity and anxiety over logistics can go away and they’re free to go about being a child and feeling safe and supported by their parents – even though the parents are divorced.
- We can work to set emotional boundaries
- We can work to understand past destructive habits from the marriage to create new ways of handling old situations.
- Discussing ways to help your child and communicate with them better. Children learn through simile and metaphor and the use of story can help you discuss many difficult situations via the context of “others.” (Books listed below).
- CO-PARENTS WHO NEED SUPPORT AS THEY DISENGAGE INTO PARALLEL PARENTING:
- Parallel parenting comes in when there is so much conflict between co-parents that they – and the children – are better off disengaging from any type of communicating about parenting except what is legally necessary.
- The use of Our Family Wizard App can be used for communication, documenting emails and assigning a mediator: a therapist, lawyer etc.
PARALLEL PARENTING AND HIGH CONFLICT PERSONALITIES
Emotions are powerful throughout divorce and are often triggered by differing parenting styles or treatment of the children. Parallel Parenting Counseling helps parents disengage from these emotions and move toward a higher level of independence and freedom they not have been having while trying to traditionally co-parent. Parallel Parenting also frees the children from the unhealthy dynamics between ex-spouses.
WHO NEEDS TO CONSIDER PARALLEL PARENTING?
- Parallel parenting is necessary when mental health issues like borderline personality disorder or narcissism are present. Also, when being cordial and civil toward each other is impossible because one (or both) parents refuse to cooperate and act reasonably. For the sake of the children, it’s better to lower the contentious interactions and have two very separate households with very separate rules and little interaction.
PLEASE KNOW THAT I DO NOT PROVIDE DIVORCE MEDIATION. THIS IS A SPECIALTY THAT IS BEYOND THE SCOPE OF MY PRACTICE.
Books for Children – Divorce
Young Children – (Ages 4-9)
Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce
M. Gary Neuman
Standing on My Own Two Feet
- Two Homes Filled With Love: A Story about Divorce and Separation
- Steve Herman
- Dinosaurs Divorce (ages 4-9)
- Lauren Krasny and Mark Brown
- Nina has Two Houses
- Danielle Jacobs and Hannah Neal
- Mom and Dad Love Me the Same
- Melissa Torres and Daniel Ramos
- Help Me Understand: A Child’s Book About Divorce (Christian)
- Amy Ross Munford
Children – Ages 7-12
- A Smart Girl’s Guide to Her Parents Divorce
- Nancy Holyoke
- Divorce is not the End of the World: A Coping Guide for Kids
- Zoe and Even Stern
- Split Survival Kit: 10 Steps for Coping with Parents
- Ruth Fitzgerald
- When Kids Switch Houses
- Lauren Gould
- A Hole in the Fence (Christian)
- Diane Lil Adams
- Amber Brown is on the Move
- Paula Danzinger
- Ginny Morris and Mom’s House, Dad’s House
- Mary Collins Gallager
- Amber Brown Goes Forth
- Paula Danzinger
- The Day My Mother Left
- James Prosek
- Kaline Katter master’s Tree House
- Haven Kimmel
- Don’t Make Me Smile
- Barbara Park
- Taking Sides
- Norma Klein
- My Parents are Divorced, Too: A Book for Kids by Kids
- Jan Blackstone-Ford
- Don’t Fall Apart on Saturday’s: The Children’s Divorce-Survival Book
- Norma Klein
- What Makes Me Feel This Way?
- Eda LeShan
- Surviving: Helping Teens Find Peace on the Roller Coaster Ride of Divorce
- Joe Wells
- How it Feels When Parents Divorce
- Jill Krementz
- Healing the Hurt, Help for Teenagers Whose Parents Are Divorced (Christian)
- Mildred Tickfer
- Divorce is Not the End of the World: Zoe’s and Evan’s Coping Guide for Kids
- Zoe and Evan Stern
- Dear Mr. Henshaw (Novel)
- Beverly Cleary
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