What Co-Parenting Is:
Co-parenting sessions are not Couples Counseling! Instead, they consist of child- centered meetings with parents to establish a child-centered relationship which benefits their child/children. For example: the day prior to each session; co-parents are asked to identify and forward 2-3 points that relate to their child/children to discuss. This establishes a basis for our sessions as we work to develop a successful co-parenting relationship with firm boundaries that functions more like a “business” to achieve an outcome that directly benefits the child/children.
Note: If at any time during co-parenting; any co-parent threatens and/or initiates legal proceedings, our co-parenting sessions will terminate 30 days after this revelation, to give the co-parents time to find a new co-parenting counselor, as I do not provide services for those who are in legal actions against each other. I also do not provide services for court mandated co-parenting clients.
What We Know:
Children and teens who are the product of parents who are very contentious with each other and/or are "not on the same page" in their parenting approaches, are at elevated risks for issues such as academic failure, anxiety, depression, opposition behavior, and/or physical manifestations of emotional pain, etc. For most children and teens that have parents who are at odds, and/or can't provide a team approach, they experience a sense of loss; one which occurs at a time developmentally where they don’t have the ability to process things on their own. Research supports that children can thrive once parents become more amicable in co-parenting, this is despite the confusion and ambiguity that they had once felt when their parents were engaging in splitting behaviors.
We keep a photo of your child in our work session to remind us of our purpose. In co-parenting sessions, the parents of the child are only permitted to discuss child-focused issues. Co-parenting is both an educational and reintegration process that occurs for co-parents to begin to establish how they will communicate in the best interest of their child. Each co-parent quite often brings with them issues such as resentment, hostility, and/or lack of hope that the other co-parent will not follow through on agreements. I establish a setting where both sides can have a forum to be heard while balancing firm boundaries about how we will work in our sessions for their child. By establishing this protocol, co-parents can develop new language and coping skills which act as an “anchor” that they can access when things spiral into conflict.
What Co-Parenting is:
- Not a forum to insult, threaten, or scream at the other parent
- Not a way to gain or change custody
- Not a way to punish the other parent
- Not a way to reunite with the other parent
- Not a way to gather legal documentation from sessions or from therapist to use in legal process
What to Bring to Your First Co-Parenting Session:
- If divorced or separated, copies of any divorce or separation agreement where each parent is named as legal guardian of the child.
- A photo of your child and any special item such as a scrap book or something to help us think of the child while in sessions.
- A filled out intake form that was emailed to you which includes your goals for our meeting.
Each co-parent pays their portion at the beginning of the session vs. one co-parent paying for both. Many co-parents had and/or still have disagreements over finances, in the counseling office, we plan ahead to remove that challenge.