Top 10 Tips to Positive Co-Parenting
For those who are separated, divorced or sharing custody of a child, the struggles of co-parenting can produce enormous stressors.
Co-parenting, sometimes called joint parenting or cooperative parenting, is the experience of raising children as a single parent when separation or divorce occurs. Often a difficult process, co-parenting is greatly influenced by the reciprocal interactions of each parent. So, if you're parenting in a healthy way but the other parent isn't, your children will be at risk for developmental problems. The same goes if you're being too permissive and the other parent is too stern.
Co-parenting requires empathy, patience and open communication for success. This is not an easy thing to achieve for couples who've encountered marital issues. However, placing the sole focus on your children can be a great way of helping to make co-parenting a positive experience. Here are some tips.
Two Ways of Problem Solving
According to Deborah Serani, Psy D., from Psychology Today, positive co-parenting is present when there are two problem solving techniques utilized:
Strategic problem-solving model looks just at the issues at hand. The behavioral aspects of your child's problem are highlighted as is the co-parenting trouble spots. Do not address the emotional reasons why problems are happening. As co-parents you will identify the problem and negotiate choices and solutions as objectively as possible. Strategic problem solving directs each parent to resolve conflict through a careful approach of:
This is done without getting into either parent’s emotional needs, wants and desires.
Social-psychological problem solving is a more emotional way of resolving issues. The focus here looks at your attitudes and the emotional reasons for co-parenting blind spots. While the social-psychological model, like the strategic model, assumes that parenting conflicts are bound to arise, it differs from the strategic model by focusing on the psychological factors that drive conflict and negotiation impasses. Communication among both parents using this model can be tough, and it's okay if you never reach this way of problem solving. If you do, remember not to be accusatory or critical. Invite the other parent to see your side with empathy, compassion and authentic concern for the children.
Top 10 Tips to Positive Co-Parenting:
Kindlon, D. (2001). Too much of a good thing: Raising children of character in an indulgent age. New York: Miramax Books.
Laumann-Billings, L. & Emery, R.E. (2000), Distress among young adults from divorced families. Journal of Family Psychology, 14:671-687.
Mayer, B.S. (2004). Beyond neutrality: Confronting the crisis in conflict resolution. SanFrancisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Mosten, F.S. (2009). Collaborative Divorce. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.
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