Parenting Blog #2: Co-Parenting
By: Dr. Erica Wollerman
A large part of the work that I do with families and parents is working with people to improve their co-parenting. This is a topic that comes up frequently with almost all parents, not just those going through divorce or separation. For married couples, the issues center around the parents struggling to agree on what is best for their child/children. Typically, both parents are trying to do the best that they can to help their child, have very different ideas of what the “right” decisions are, and struggle to compromise in these areas because they are so committed to their child’s well-being. These issues become even more complicated during times of transition, separation, and divorce. Parents who present for co-parenting support following or during a divorce are generally much more emotionally raw and vulnerable due to the relationship issues they have been facing. This can make it very hard to receive and integrate feedback about almost anything, but particularly parenting because it is an area that brings up insecurities for a lot of people.
Most of the parents I work with feel that they are failing as a parent. This makes it challenging to hear feedback about their parenting because they are already primed in their heads to think that they are just a terrible parent! Therefore, anyone who is asking for support and help deserves respect just for taking such a difficult leap. I believe that it is very brave to talk to a professional about any areas you feel you are having challenges in, particularly parenting. Though parent consultation can be a very vulnerable process, it can also be very rewarding when you work with a therapist who helps you change your parenting style to improve your family situation.
The following tips are strategies and suggestions to help parents who are entering into parent consultation gain as much as possible from the experience.
The above tips will hopefully help you to engage in the parent consultation process and can make it a little less challenging.
Now let’s move onto some co-parenting tips. Remember these apply to any people raising children together (married, divorced, remarried, etc.) though some apply more to high conflict marriages or divorce.
Those are some of my basic co-parenting suggestions for situations that come up most often in my practice. Please feel free to add your own to my list! Just remember, no one has parenting all figured out but the most important thing is that you are trying your best with the information you have!
Thanks for reading!
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