It can be challenging enough raising children in a family, but coparenting or shared parenting can place further stress on parents.
After a separation or divorce, there is a range of emotional issues for the parties to deal with. When you share the parenting responsibilities of a child, these issues can be exacerbated, but nevertheless, they need to be worked through for the sake of everyone involved. Some coparents may not see eye-to-eye and find it difficult to agree how best to raise a child. Conflicts between coparents affect children and therefore need to be addressed in a safe and professional environment. Counselling from a psychologist can help.
Some of the areas where counselling can help coparents include:
- Encouraging cooperation between coparents
- Encouraging communication and flexibility
- Learning to compromise, so that everyone feels that they have a voice and a say
- Acting as a mediator in the process of coming to agreements
- Learning how to talk about your coparent in a respectful way that does not harm your child
- Dealing with the neglect of a coparent
- Joint custody arrangements
- Identifying and correcting behaviours where coparents place children in the middle of their issues
- Helping a parent deal with the other parent moving on
It is central to the coparenting counselling process to remember that the well-being of the child is the most import thing. Children need a stable and calm environment and a key step towards achieving this is to develop a harmonious relationship between coparents.
With the right help, it is possible to create a coparenting relationship that works for the coparents and, most importantly, for the child.
Tips for successful coparenting:
- Keep the channels of communication open
- Focus on the best interests of the child
- When communicating with a coparent, use clear, simple language that conveys the message clearly
- Avoid getting emotional in correspondence
- Learn to compromise
- Never put the child in the role of go-between or messenger
- Never express negative feelings toward the coparent to the child