Separated Fathers inc.
Keep your balance in the separation
What is coparenting in the context of separation ?
The definition of co-parenting is a process where two parents collaborate to raise a child even though they are divorced or separated and no longer live together. An example of co-parenting is when a divorced or separated mother and father share legal and physical custody of their child.*
In most cases, former spouses must attend an information session on parenting and mediation before asking a court to decide what will happen as a result of their break-up. If they don’t attend the session, judges will not hear their cases. In this article, the word “spouse” includes both married and common-law spouses. (Educaloi_https://www.educaloi.qc.ca/en)
Coparenting golden rules: helping the child following the separation
avoid talking to the child negatively about the other parent, his/her extended family or his/her friends;
do not suggest, by words or gestures, the child is being disloyal if he/she enjoys being in the company of the other parent;
be polite when the other parent comes to pick or return the child;
respect the privacy of the child while he/she is talking on the phone with the other parent;
support the child by respecting reasonable limits set by the other parent;
avoid questioning the child about the other parent's activities, friends or income;
discuss ahead of time visiting arrangements with the other parent before talking with the child, reconfirming with the other parent visiting arrangements
It is common and normal for two parents to have different ideas, opinions, values, and priorities. Part of being successful in a relationship with another person is being able to use appropriate communication skills so that ideas and opinions can be expressed and received with respect and differences of opinion can be worked out using healthy conflict resolution strategies.
If parents do not communicate respectfully with each other and do not have a good strategy for resolving conflicts, the result is chronic, unresolved conflict between the parents. There is an ongoing hostile emotional tone between the parents that continues to erupt over time and in the same patterns. Conflict never seems to get resolved. The same patterns of angry confrontations are repeated over and over again with only temporary or often no resolution or changes taking place between the parents.
This harmful conflict can range on a continuum from yelling, criticizing, blaming, put-downs, mocking, sarcasm and ignoring at one end of the spectrum, through intimidation and threats of harm, to actual physical violence such as throwing or destroying things, or grabbing, shoving, slapping, hitting, kicking, or any other form of physical assault at the other end of the spectrum. Chronic parental conflict can take place not only in intact families but also in families where parents have separated or divorced, or have never been married or lived together.
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How is Chronic Parental Conflict Harmful to Children?
1. Negative Impact on Children’s Mental Health
What is very destructive psychologically for children is for them to experience their parents’ continuing, unresolved, hostile conflicts. Research indicates that children are resilient and highly adaptive in general and can usually cope with and adapt to difficult situations such as separation and divorce. What severely damages children emotionally is bitter, long-lasting, ongoing conflict between parents, whether the parents live together or not.
The longer parental conflict continues and the greater the tension between the parents, the greater the likelihood that psychological difficulties will result for children such as emotional and behavior problems, anxiety, depression, sleep problems, low self-esteem, school problems and a number of other difficulties.
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