Post Separation Thoughts and Behaviours Really Matter

Let’s consider why we think we may have a difficult time co-parenting with our ex-partners:

  • She/he has an addiction and refuses to get help.
  • Who knows who she/he will have around my child?
  • She/he has repeatedly lied and betrayed our trust.
  • We keep arguing.
  • I feel completely disrespected by my ex-partner, so why should I cooperate?
  • She/he has shown no interest in the care of this child!
  • We didn’t get along before so …

And BREATHE! Now that we have let all that out (and I’m sure we can express quite an extensive list of additional thoughts and feelings associated with our broken relationships), let’s consider just a few of the benefits of effective co-parenting:

  1. Children will feel more secure, relaxed and confident growing up with two involved and cooperative parents;
  2. Enhancement of children’s social, physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional development;
  3. Parents actually improve their health and development as well;
  4. Positive examples and role models for children by working together through difficulties;
  5. Both of us have the pleasure of being cooperative, compassionate and mutually involved parents;
  6. Extended family members are able to remain more involved;

In his extensive review of the literature on the impact of separation and divorce, conducted for the Department of Justice Canada 2001, Ron Steward highlights  “a study of 51 families with an arrangement for joint physical custody, Steinman et al. (1985) identified a list of factors that lead to successful joint physical custody. Families who successfully maintained joint custody had the following qualities:

  1. respect and appreciation for the bond between the children and former spouse;
  2. an ability to maintain objectivity about the children’s needs during difficult periods of the 
  3. ability to empathize with the point of view of the child and the other parent;
  4. ability to shift emotional expectations from the role of mate to that of co-parent;
  5. ability to establish new role boundaries; and
  6. show generally high self-esteem, flexibility and openness to help.” 

Separation or divorce can be an extremely difficult time for parents, and the children and extended family members involved. Feelings are hurt, people often choose sides (even though there are no sides in a family), distance is created (which is a normal part of any separation) and the emotional intensity and practical logistics of separating can inhibit parents’ attention to co-parenting for some time.

Co-parenting does work and is more likely when parents dig deep to develop the qualities listed above. With appropriate training, coaching, planning and practice, both parents will have the opportunity to create amazing lives for themselves, their children and extended family.

To improve your co-parenting by learning the how to strategies – book an appointment with us today!

Probably the single most challenging issue we face as humans, compared to other mammals, is the length of time it takes us to raise our young. Depending on the area of the globe you live in, this can range anywhere from sixteen to twenty years. In most families, ongoing support of various kinds is still being provided for years or decades afterward.

Rapid changes in the pre-teen and teen years challenge and push parents to acquire new information and develop new skills.  Teens are merely doing what comes naturally, changing socially, emotionally, physically, intellectually, ethically, spiritually and psychologically and stressing parents as part of this magnificent metamorphosis. Enjoying this stage of life can be hard, especially if we listen to all the negativity out there about teens.

Don’t buy into the negative story. Children and parents struggle as part of normal family growth and development. Keeping upbeat and positive about child rearing is a monumental task rarely done very well without help. There are many books… so change the age old negative phrase to say, they do come with a manual, in fact, many!”.  Further, mentors, coaches or counsellors are available who are equipped to teach new strategies and provide you with the tools necessary for raising confident, healthy and highly effective teens.

If you find you are struggling too much, are stressed and worried about your young person and unsure what to do then … contact us today !


Teens Test Tolerance!

Sometime our teenagers seem to give us such a hard time we can feel like strangling them or just simply like giving up. It is common to feel like this. You are not alone when you feel frustrated and overwhelmed by this stage of family life. Don’t give up or “throw in the towel”. There is a lot you can do.

Getting coaching and guidance from our therapists, located in Oshawa, can help you adjust effectively to the challenges faced when raising teens. Reading the book the “7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” by Sean Covey, and even encouraging your teen to read it, can be a great resource also. We refer to it as the “textbook” when working with parents and teens. Trust yourself to get professional counselling when you are unsure how to best resolve the situation.

Contact us at to schedule a session via Skype or in person.

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While taking stuff away and grounding children from going out may be common and an easy approach (possibly one our parents used) it is really a “last resort” discipline strategy. When we think of adjusting our children’s thinking to improve emotional and behavioural outcomes… taking things away can actually contribute to increased negative thinking and lowered self esteem.  This is what I like to call “Stinkin Thinkin“!

Discipline is to teach or coach. It is best designed to provide consequences (rewards and punishments) that improve self esteem and more positive thinking. Rather than taking something away or grounding why not add something.  Assigning age-appropriate chores and tasks is an excellent disciplinary strategy.  This teaches that their behaviour is not desired while building up their skill set and reducing time to dwell (for both parents and children) on the undesirable behaviour. Tasks and chores also benefit all involved… wow!

There are many small and moderate size chores around the house for lesser infractions and, of course, some larger chores for those more blatantly defiant behaviours. Disciplinary tasks may include reading, music practice or any range of other things that contribute to your child’s well-being.

Think about it. How do you feel when you have accomplished something. Generally, most of us feel glad to be done, a sense of satisfaction, completion and confidence. We usually have also increased our knowledge and skill on how to do the particular task or chore. Getting kids to read about and write down ways to resolve problems may also be great task for behaving poorly.

We can even get our preteens and teens to come up with options for consequences.  Choices help improve buy in and motivation.  Would they rather do a task, help another person or do a chore? We tend to be more open to do a particular task when we have a say or are included in the decision-making process.

Next time your teenager requires discipline for something… think of three Cs -> consequences, chores and choices. 

Seven Habits of Teens