Why Co-Parent with Someone I Don’t Like?
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:
- Children will feel more secure, relaxed and confident growing up with two involved and cooperative parents;
- Enhancement of children’s social, physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional development;
- Parents actually improve their health and development as well;
- Positive examples and role models for children by working together through difficulties;
- Both of us have the pleasure of being cooperative, compassionate and mutually involved parents;
- 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:
- respect and appreciation for the bond between the children and former spouse;
- an ability to maintain objectivity about the children’s needs during difficult periods of the divorce;
- ability to empathize with the point of view of the child and the other parent;
- ability to shift emotional expectations from the role of mate to that of co-parent;
- ability to establish new role boundaries; and
- 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!