From the moment of separation you and your spouse begin functioning as co-parents, and how you manage this is vitally important to the well being of your child. Research has shown that it is not the divorce per se but rather the amount of conflict associated with the divorce that has the most negative effects on children. Regardless of the actual split of time spent with the child, co-parenting itself is an on-going situation. If there is conflict between you and your ex-spouse, your child will be left to deal with an on-going stressful situation at an age when coping skills around stress are still in development and children are often not able to process such negativity between parents when it goes on over time with no end in sight. Thus the time to start lessening the conflict is now, and our Coaching for Cooperative Co-Parenting is a good place to start.
Parallel Parenting is a phrase that denotes the parents are too high-conflict to effectively co-parent. Essentially it is a format where as little contact as possible occurs between the parents. It is not ideal for children to see their parents so divided, and co-parenting may still be an aspirational goal for these exes. But when one or both parents for whatever reason cannot engage much at all, a Parallel Parenting format can be designed to help keep the conflict the child experiences as low as possible and allow the parents to meet the child’s needs.
A FORMAT TO MEET YOUR NEEDS: Some people prefer to work on their co-parenting alone 1-1 with a clinician. This format offers maximum privacy, provides several times available weekdays/evenings/Saturdays, is great for individual coaching for your own skill development and personal growth, and also good for providing you skills and support for dealing with a difficult co-parent if that is your situation. Other parents prefer to come in together so they can hear the same co-parenting tips from the clinician at the same time. This format also allows for open dialog and discussion of parenting issues, allows a venue where the clinician can coach you in-the-moment for improved communication, and also works well as a space for parents to come to agreement on a parenting plan / custody schedule. Some parents who choose this model start with one individual session to give their perspective to the clinician alone. Others like a more structured psychoeducational approach, such as our Personalized Cooperative Parenting Seminar, which offers educational materials and discussion in a private setting. Also all three of these session formats can be turned into your insurance for reimbursement via your out-of-network health benefits. Sometimes courts order a co-parenting class, and this class meets that requirement (and FYI if you prefer private meetings, those generally can be substituted for the class).