Co-parenting is difficult, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Learn how to be the best possible parents to your children whether you’re together or not.
Though parents want the best for their children, separation and divorce can take a toll on both the parents and the children they love. Separation/divorce is a catalyst for a myriad of new roles, new home environments, and other changes. Feelings of frustration, anger, and grief are not uncommon and can get in the way of positive parenting. Research has illustrated the negative impact of parental conflict on children. Co-parenting counseling is a proactive way to mitigate conflict during or post-divorce, supporting the healthy growth and development of children. However, co-parenting counseling is not for parents who are invested in ongoing high conflict. It is not designed to repair what happened in the marital relationship.
What to Expect in Co-parenting counseling:
- Co-parenting counseling is a collaborative process which requires both parents to attend sessions together and communicate effectively about their wishes and concerns regarding their child.
- Both parents must have the best interests of their child as the reason for attending co-parent counseling.
- Co-parenting counseling requires that both parents sign releases of information to each other, as well as any and all legal parties involved.
- If co-parenting counseling is court ordered, a copy of the order must be shared with me prior to setting up the first appointment so that we are able to determine if the case is appropriate for co-parenting counseling.
- Co-parenting counseling is not a covered insurance benefit and is considered an out-of-pocket expense. Prior to scheduling the first session, both parents must agree to who is responsible for payment. Often, but not always, this information is documented in the court order. Payment is due in full at the time of service.
- Co-parenting counseling typically involves a series of weekly or bi-weekly sessions, and with improvement, may only occur once a month, and then as needed.
- Sessions will involve both parents, either together or separately, and possibly current partners if appropriate.
Co-parenting counseling is designed to address
- Developing more effective methods of communicating with the other parent
- Involvement of a new step-parent, or significant other
- Education about factors that contribute to positive post-divorce adjustment
- Modifying the parenting plan as children grow and change
- Managing differences in child-rearing philosophies and practices
- Learning how to mitigate conflict and how to avoid putting the children “in the middle”
- Developing respectful approaches to decision making and problem-solving regarding the children
- Discipline and rules for the children that meet their needs and both parents’ concerns