“Co-Parenting is an enterprise undertaken by two or more adults who together take on the care and upbringing of children for whom they share responsibility,” according to James McHale, a researcher with the Department of Psychology and Family Study Center at University of South Florida in St. Petersburg.
This definition is simple, but co-parenting isn’t as easy as it sounds. As you may know, co-parenting can be a very daunting, emotionally taxing, logistically challenging, and tedious process. It can also be a rewarding, embracing, emotionally sustaining, and fulfilling process.
Your child’s self esteem, academic achievement, career success, understanding of self, and even their ability to love and be loved can all be impacted by how they experience their parents’ divorce and co-parenting.
Studies show that every child of divorce struggles emotionally with the changes in their families. However, children of low-conflict, highly cooperative co-parents begin to rebuild their resiliency more quickly. My goal is to help parents focus on and support their children’s emotional well-being, one of the best predictors of future success.
As a Co-Parent Counselor, I understand that it is very complicated to co-parent with someone to whom you respond with intense emotions. My job is to help co-parents in high conflict transition their relationship to a more successful experience, both for themselves and for their child. I assist co-parents in developing a style that can help them experience their interactions together in a way that defuses the intensity of conflict to a level that helps each of them begin to enjoy their job as a parent, even when co-parenting.
I structure my co-parenting sessions in different ways, depending on the family. Some co-parents can sit together and discuss issues in their relationship together. Some co-parents need to meet individually for a time. The end goal, however, is for the co-parents to be able to meet together and begin addressing contentious issues, design a plan for how they will communicate and navigate those complicated issues. This work can build situations where children can experience their parents in low conflict situations, increasing their own resiliency in their future.