Parenting and Co-parenting
Taking a child-focused approach to separation/divorce brings up two areas of learning and growth: co-parenting together post separation and parenting practices through separation/divorce.
Parenting Through Separation
Research tells us that the quality of parenting tends to dip during the year of the separation. I work with my clients to increase their awareness about how the separation may be influencing their parenting and to find ways to provide the most connection and consistency for their children as possible.
I also work with parents to teach them how to be ‘debriefers’ for their children’s experiences during this time. Parents can be challenged with their children’s upset combined with their own. I provide support and parent coaching for ‘Parents As Debriefers’; helping parents to engage effectively with their children’s emotional experience without drawing them into the adult aspects of the separation. These skills are also helpful in the day to day of regular parenting. See ‘Parents As Debriefers’ in the article section of this website.
Co-Parenting Post Separation
Developing a successful co-parenting relationship post separation is a tall order given the complexity of marital relationships and the need to both separate as intimate partners yet stay connected as co-parents. When we keep our focus on the children, these two seemingly opposite processes come together more easily.
I work with my clients to separate the adult relationship from the parenting relationship. This can take time and effort depending on the situation. However, the love parents have for their children often provides an emotional ‘North Star’ during these challenging times. When both parents work to keep their focus on the children and keeping their lives moving smoothly, the satisfaction and confidence found in ‘making it work for our kids’ can create a balance to the sadness and loss of the intimate adult relationship.
I work with parents to ‘write the story their children will be telling for the rest of their lives about their parents’ separation and divorce’. This narrative will have a powerful impact on the well-being of the children into the future.
I also suggest reading materials and online services as is appropriate.