Last Updated on December 13, 2022 by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt
Relationships are happy and full of potential in the beginning, but sometimes downfalls prevail. The relationship deteriorates and now you’re devastated for losing the potential for great happiness because things didn’t work out as planned. The process of divorce and separation is already hard, and having children in the middle of it makes it more difficult. In this case, it’s recommended that you should visit co-parenting counseling and ask for support.
What Is Co-Parenting?
Parents who have hit a wall in their relationship tend to decide on partaking in co-parenting to be able to take care of their children and, at the same time, explore more for themselves. It may seem complicated since these parents have to become civil and learn to live with each other even if they’re no longer together. However, this is where co-parenting therapy comes in.
Co-Parenting Is Challenging But Not Impossible
Consider all the issues you must discuss with your ex to be able to parent together. Children can find it difficult to move from one house to the next because there are likely different expectations and rules. While they can cope with these challenges, they might also develop challenging behaviors.
Many teens feel confused about which parent to choose, particularly if they are young. If they are exposed to too many adult details about the separation, this can make matters worse. Parents can be confidants in their children and make sure they are their best friend. Sometimes, a parent may even attempt to isolate their children from the other parent.
Even families that are intact can have different parenting styles. Adding divorce into the process can make it difficult to communicate with each other. A relationship therapist can help you find common ground in parenting issues and communicate calmly and respectfully. You can work together with your therapist to create a plan for co-parenting that suits the needs of your entire family.
What is Co-Parenting Counseling?
Co-parenting Counseling, or therapy helps parents put their anger and hurt towards another to rest for the wellbeing of their children. Other parents transition to co-parenting easily, but that’s not the same for others.
Some parents tend to struggle with conflict, miscommunication, or total lack of communication. This is because sometimes one parent thinks it’s best for them to take care of their child alone rather than giving time for the other parent. Counseling is then available to provide these parents with tools and skills to improve their communication to create a better plan for the future.
Co-parenting therapy helps parents find a balance in their lives without sacrificing their time to become the best parents they can be. The process also helps parents learn about working together to properly talk about their separation to their children.
No matter if you live in the same house or are moving out, if you want to change your parenting plan, if you have just started a new household, restructured your existing one, or merely need to communicate better with your child about their needs, co-parenting therapy can be helpful. A co-parenting therapist is able to help you build a healthy relationship with your ex, and prevent your children from getting into unnecessary conflict.
The Goals of Co-Parenting Counseling
- Setting up a schedule and agreeing to specific responsibilities.
- Teach parenting skills
- Ways to help a child cope with a divorce.
- Anticipate potential problems in the future, and come up with solutions.
- How to respectfully express your disagreement and work towards compromise
- Identify unhealthy communication patterns and find ways to improve them.
Why Splitting Parents Should Undergo Co-Parenting Counseling
- Discuss the most difficult issues with your ex.
- Take decisions about the things that cannot be changed for a child who lives in two homes (the school where your child goes, medical decisions, etc.)
- You can identify the individual decisions that you can make for each household (bed times, food, and houses of worship).
- Your communication styles and interactions with others are affected by the many ways you express yourself.
- Learn to understand the differences in your reactions to each other. You can change the conflict level in your relationship by changing how you react.
Types of Co-Parenting Counseling
Co-Parenting Counselors have different types of approaches to help parents manage their changing family. These are the following:
Parents that have gone through separation or divorce may have chances of bringing the issues they used to have when they were together. These issues can take a toll on their mental health, as well as their children’s.
Counselors focusing on conflict resolution can help these parents make healthy boundaries and get conflict resolution skills. This makes sure that the parents won’t dive back to their old arguments and focus on co-parenting instead. Doing so would help them move on to their own lives and just put their energy in making decisions that’s best for their children.
Common Possible Conflicts
- Custody Agreements (holidays and birthdays)
- Living Situation
Proper and Healthy Communication
Counselors evaluate how the parents communicate, along with identifying their positive and negative aspects. The counselor then teaches skills that can help the parents communicate more properly. There are healthy communication techniques that can help them ask more effectively, explain more clearly, and plan more smoothly.
Through this, parents will learn how to manage their frustrations and keep their focus on their children. This would also help them talk to one another in a respectful and civil manner.
- Schedule time sharing and events
- Addressing problems without blame
- Exchange of information without bringing up the past
Co-parenting helps parents reconnect to their purpose as parents and have a healthier relationship with their children. These are the following example of strategies:
- Consistency between both households
- Time-sharing Arrangement
- Pick-ups or Drop-offs
- Household Arrangements
These strategies are important because sometimes children may try to play parents off one another. Having bad communication between both parents may give their children more chances to play parents off one another. They could ask things and say that one parent should allow something because the other does. This results in them siding with one parent and punishing the other.
However, these instances can be avoided if only the parents have proper communication. Parents should work together in raising their children, even though they’re no longer together. Co-parenting shouldn’t be a nightmare, it’s worth it as long as both parents make a commitment to communicate well with one another.
What to Expect at Your First Session
The first session is typically the evaluation of the counselor to help them better understand the situation that the parents are in. Through this evaluation, the counselor would learn which type of co-parenting counseling should be done.
Parents who were required to attend co-parenting counseling would also get an explanation about the confidentiality and the limits. They would also inform the parents about what would be shared to the judge who mandated the counseling. Counselors would also allow the parents to ask any questions regarding the counseling.
Is Co-parenting Counseling Effective?
Counseling is a helpful tool that allows parents who are having trouble communicating properly due to past arguments and misunderstandings. There are also reports that parents who underwent counseling went through their divorce process with more understanding. This is because parents properly talking about what would happen with their co-parenting would mean less legal involvement to fight for what they want.
Co-parenting counseling gives parents more chances to calmly talk about what they want. A proper compromise will occur, and everyone would meet at the middle ground of things. This would mean there’s going to be better cooperation among co-parents.
Other Counseling To Think Through
How is Co-Parenting Counseling Different From Family Therapy?
Family therapy, also known as couples therapy, helps parents communicate properly and work through their relationship to stay together. Although the goal for them to have proper communication is the same with both therapies, the latter allows the parents to think through their conflicts and gain better understanding of each other without sacrificing their relationship. Family therapy is usually advised to couples who are thinking of getting a divorce, to make sure if they really want the relationship to end.
How is Co-Parenting Counseling Different From Divorce Counseling?
Divorce Counseling focuses more on helping couples considering divorce or going through it. The counselor aims to help the couple have a smoother divorce and have them cope with it more effectively.
Common Co-Parenting Counseling Questions
How to convince the other parent to undergo co-parenting counseling?
You might bring up the matter in conversation if you are in speaking terms with your ex. Refer to how it will benefit your children and how it’s not about trying to fix the marital problems. Counseling can help ensure that everyone is satisfied, including your children.
You can email or write a letter if you are not able to speak. Please contact your ex-partner directly. Do not pass the children’s information on to them. Let your ex know that you offer a complimentary consultation to help them learn more about co-parent counseling.
What If the parents can’t take them being in the same room as the other?
It is possible that it will be uncomfortable at the beginning. However, skilled therapists will provide you with a safe place to talk to your ex. You won’t have to yell, name-calling or accuse your ex.