The purpose of going through co parenting counseling is to figure out the best possible way to raise the children together after a separation. It can help everyone involved to continue their lives without leaving too many bad memories.
The common problem for many recently separated parents is that they’re unable to have a common ground on how to raise their children. Each has an idea of how parenting should be. While that is far from wrong, but it’s not precisely correct either.
Disregarding how many children the parents have, the counsel only involves both parents and the counselor as the neutral third party. Keep in mind that maybe it is a necessary process for the parents. After all, the separation is imminent. There must be a way for the children to have a close to regular life.
Stigma Going To Therapy To Counseling About Parenting
Sadly, there is a stigma about going to therapy. Before they even start the counseling, people are second-guessing the decision. They contemplate if they have through this.
The priority has shifted from finding what is good for the future, to whether they can afford the therapy. And mostly, how to tell others that they are in a counseling session with an ex.
Co-parenting is a lot of work. It’s more than paying child support and sending gifts every birthday. It is also more than vacationing together once a year. It requires good and active communication from both parties. But most importantly, it asks for the willingness to set the egos aside to give a brighter future for the children.
Why Co Parenting Counseling Is Important
The first and foremost reason is because of the children. It doesn’t matter was it an amicable or acrimonious separation. Children are still the ones that most affected by the new situation.
Think about how the children will react. Keep in mind that parents are a much-needed unit that works together to raise the children. The devil is in the details as parents go through the separation and work on differences. But it is best to work on these small things together, for the benefit of your children.
Many people think that counseling is either a court mandate or something the social service put the parents through to gain custody. At any rate, the idea is that they have to see the counselor, and it’s far from being free will.
It is unfortunate but true at the same time. Many people are afraid to admit that they are in a problem and trying to find a solution. One thing to instill is for partners to believe that going through co-parenting counseling means putting the children first. Thus, able to work with a past partner for a better future.
Compared to calling an attorney or social service worker to work on the parenting issues. Counseling is better since they work together to create parenting strategies between two households.
Should You Do The Counseling
To be honest, going through counseling is an option. When both parents figure out ways to communicate as an adult regarding the child they share, then counseling may not be necessary. But it’s a different matter with parents who are constantly on each other’s throats.
For couples who have an acerbic separation, counseling can be a way to lessen the tension. It may not have any legal standing. But the counseling helps both parents to see the necessary steps to ensure the child’s future.
Sadly, there is a myriad of stigmas regarding counseling in general. Many people are too afraid to try it because it’s akin to admitting that something is wrong with their lives. And it takes a lot of guts to go to one. To many, it’s much easier to deny everything and pretend that things are working just fine.
Many people excuse their exes for being detached. They take it as a sign for them to move on and have more control over their lives. Well, there’s nothing wrong with reshaping life to have a better future. But with a child in tow, it means that what lies ahead doesn’t belong to the parents alone.
First of all, going through therapy has to be a mutual agreement. It’s not something that a social service can do. Focus on the children’s wellbeing. Disregarding the ex’s past behaviors and habits, they are an inseparable package in the child’s life. Removing them will only do injustice and hurt everybody.
How The Counsel Helps, Understanding The Problems That Often Happen
In short, co-parenting counseling is very similar to couple therapy. The only difference is that it’s for separated parents and the children’s welfare is the main focus.
Stop thinking of how to make the whole thing in your favor. Think of a mutual understanding that the parents can achieve. Put the child as the main focus in the counseling.
There is no precise guide on how to be a parent, let alone on being a co-parent. Several problems may occur along the way. No need to freak out when encountering one. Instead, use the information from the counseling session to figure out some solutions. Here are some differences that can happen.
A couple comes from two different families. Even when they have a similar history, but essentially they are two individuals. When separating, the division can be more apparent.
The most common example is the difference in lifestyle. Primarily in health and daily activities. The child probably chooses a household that spoils them more. After all, who wouldn’t choose that kind of life? But it shouldn’t put the kid in an awkward situation.
It is best to apply the same rules on what the children can and cannot have in both houses. It doesn’t mean lowering or forcing to raise the standard. Some differences are acceptable, but they can’t be principal ones. Despite the separation, the parent should work together as a single unit.
What to share and not to share with the ex? Considering that there was romance and other histories in the picture, it may be hard to set a line and be firm about it. Don’t worry, this is where a counselor can step in.
The counselor will guide the couple to talk about the proposed boundaries from both parties. Together, the three of them work to find common ground all can agree upon to make co-parenting work.
The boundaries are there to help the parents to set an example on parenting. There is no book, guide, or written rules on how to be one. But there are many examples of good parents that are no longer together. One of the reasons is because they work within the boundaries and manage to balance it out.
Introducing Future Partner
Some parents think that they can’t have a future love life. Since the child is their everything, they choose to focus on providing for the family. Still, life holds a lot of surprises that none of us can understand or figure out.
When there’s a new love for either parent, it doesn’t mean that it’s a key for full custody or to stop co-parenting. Both parents need to communicate and make sure that the future partner is not a fleeting one. The kid needs to have a steady house when they grow up.
The confusion can happen to the new partners as well. They don’t understand where they stand. That is why setting boundaries and effective communication are important.
Keys To Make Co-Parenting Work
It sure sounds like hard work. Juggling between daily life and being a good parent, albeit separated. Still, there are ways for co-parenting to work. The counseling sessions are only helpful to direct the parents on communicating effectively. The rest is about them working together to provide equal love for the kids.
Put The Children First
Unless there’s some danger or crime happens, the ex has an equal right to be in the children’s life. It is an undeniable fact and something that need multiple underlines.
The child is the main priority for both parents, even when they go through an uncoupling process. Still, parents can be selfish creatures and force their kids to take their side during separation.
The children are the innocent party in this case. No matter how heartbreaking and difficult the separation is. It affects the child multiple times more. Whenever you think that it is awful, it’s even worse for them.
Become Malleable And Open To Compromise
One of the main problems is the lack of compromise. Each party wants to be a prominent parent. While it’s true that the children will stay with one of the parents, but it doesn’t and shouldn’t diminish the other’s presence.
Stay open to criticism and be more proactive in communicating. When separation happens, most parents are quick on self-blaming for being unable to keep a stable house. They are keeping their feelings inside and are quick to judge their actions even before they do that.
Each of the parents chooses to be reactive instead of proactive. They fear the upcoming criticism that may or may not happen. Instead of taking the critic as a stepping stone, they retract to the shell and act defensively.
It’s imperative to keep an open mind and be able to communicate the problems out. Remember that the solution is attainable and waiting out there. Whatever conflict that may arise later must be communicated effectively. With nobody blaming the others or forcing the kid to take sides.
Keep An Active And Effective Discourse
Again, it doesn’t matter if it was a clean breakup or not. Separation took a toll on the family, but mainly on the children. Therefore, staying in touch with the ex-partner is crucial. Hating them for what they have done is one thing, but the children should be free from that emotion.
A common misconception is interpreting communication as having an allotted time slot to talk, and thinking that it is enough to co-parent. Well, having a specific time is only a beginning.
Communication is a two-way road. Neither parent can or should limit how much the children can talk to the other parent. There is a way to work it out. And This is one of the ways that a counselor can help. Keeping it civil is a crucial part to move on with life.
Whether there is a new partner in your life or they are still somewhere across the horizon, it’s one of the topics that parents can cover in therapy. Learn how to communicate with the children and both past and new partners about the situation.
Agree To Let Things Go
Those pent-up emotions, the anger, and all that must stay as part of the previous life. Of course, it is much easier said than done. Letting go is one thing that people have difficulties doing.
Keep in mind that there is nothing more between you and the past partner other than being a parent for the children. No need to worry about not feeling any romance. Many past partners turned out to be great parents after their separation.
Some parents may still stick to berating their exes. They need to learn to let the past go. Cutting all contacts is not a solution, and especially not the best one to take in co-parenting.
It is human nature to be selfish and parents are no exception to that trait. Remember that there is no shame in separation, as sometimes it is the best outcome. However, parents must figure out a common understanding for both families to keep a good relationship. It’s all for the children’s sake.
Nevertheless, there is no guarantee that counseling has a perfect success rate. The key is for both parents to agree on working together and put aside differences to make it work. The only way to get through co parenting counseling is by realizing that it is not a hail mary. Instead, it has to be something that both are agree to do for the child’s sake.