What Co-Parenting Is:
Co-parenting sessions are not Couples Therapy! Instead, it consists of child-centered meetings with both parents to establish a child-centered relationship which benefits their child. I am very successful in working with co-parents because I establish firm boundaries for the sessions; where we accomplish a great deal because we stay on task and prioritize the kids. We look at developing a successful co-parenting relationship, one that functions like a “business” where the outcome directly benefits the children. A positive co-parenting relationship is one that is civil, appropriate and limited to the job at hand. In essence, we only focus on issues that are child-centered.
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.