Co-parenting is a term that is heard alot lately since divorce has unfortunately become so prevalent in our society. Parents often struggle with making joint custody of their child or children work and co-parenting is imperative for the best interest of a child. Parenting in a cooperative manner provides stability for children, which means that both parents have to put aside their own anger and hostility and put their children first.
However, this is often very difficult for parents to do as a result of parent’s dealing with their own anger issues that likely caused their divorce in the first place. Remaining amicable with each other is absolutely imperative!! When parents place their children in the middle of their fighting, it forces the child to feel as if they have to “pick sides” or have to be careful what they say to either parent and they end up playing the mediator role. Often heard from children that are in therapy is, “my parents bad mouth each other and I just want to be left out of it, I don’t want to hear it.” For children, it becomes a virtual tug-of-war and they feel like the rope!
Of course co-parenting is not an easy task and one or both parents make the task that much more difficult by acting in an immature fashion throughout the process and by exhibiting petty; childish behaviors. While the marriage is over, the fact of the matter is that your job as parents is not and your children have to come first. Children that have parents that work together and are amicable towards each other realize that their parents are putting aside their own differences for their best interests. Believe me, children really appreciate this! If a child is confident that both parents love them and are cooperating with each other, then children feel safe and secure. Children that feel secure are happy children that are not riddled with anger and anxieties.
The goals of co-parenting are for both parties to have consistent rules, discipline, and to problem solve issues together for the best interest of the child. Parents are modeling for their children that people that disagree with each other are able to work together in a healthy way. Children do not need to receive conflicting messages from parents as it results in children learning to manipulate their parents and it also causes children to have difficulty adjusting to their parent’s divorce.