November 22, 2023
Ideal Co-parenting: It doesn’t happen often, but I do know of a couple who divorced when their daughter was around 8 years old. From the time of the divorce until she was 18 —and even today — the parents have never put their daughter in the middle, even though the causes for their divorce were severe and significant. They’ve always let her know that she could live with either of them at any time. And she did, sometimes living with Mom, and other times with Dad. Both parents and their significant others were at her 16th birthday party; both families were there at her wedding.
This is the ideal co-parenting situation, where the parents take the emotion and stress of the past relationship and put it behind them and focus on their child. The child is the innocent party in the divorce. They didn’t ask for their family to divide. They were born into a family relationship, and they want to be able to keep loving both parents and have relationships with both parents. Even though the parents can’t live in the same home anymore, the closer they can get to that original situation the best they can do for their child. A child needs that love and to know they’re loved. Children need the stability and support of both parents.
Stability Through Co-Parenting: Often, parents tell their children that the divorce is about the parents’ relationship, and not about the child. But, when all the pushing, pulling, and fighting is happening, the child still feels that it’s about them. When both parents recognize how important it is to their child’s mental health for both of them to be involved, the child will have a much more stable situation. As parents, we want that for our children, and if it means us getting along with someone that we used to be in a relationship with, but we aren’t now, then for the sake of the child, that’s the best thing for us to do.
Another healthy situation involved a big custody fight between the parents. They were never married, and they still don’t necessarily talk much. They aren’t best friends. However, in spite of their feelings for each other, they are there for the sake of the child. Their child knows they can see either parent or live in either place. If their child needs to be picked up from school and one parent was supposed to do that but can’t, there’s no resentment, anger, or nitpicking from the other parent for that situation. They work together, and that’s how it should be.
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