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  • Co-Parenting once you are sepatated

    Written by Sue Cook

    Perhaps you are separating or already split up and you have children. You and your child’s other parent both want to be actively involved in raising your kids.  Each of you wants to continue to see your children regularly, help them with the day to day aspects of life, keep your kids safe and contribute to their wellbeing. When both parents want this kind of regular involvement in their children’s lives we call that co-parenting.

     Co-parenting means that you and your ex are going to have to work together while living apart. For some this is simple and smooth but unfortunately for many this is extremely difficult. Some of the reason why this is so difficult is because one or both of you are:

    • Angry at the other parent
    • Afraid of being devalued in the children’s lives
    • Coming from a place of unhealthy co-parenting in the marriage
    • Worried about the parent child relationship breaking down
    • Lacking trust in the other parent
    • Adamant about how the children should be raised
    • Controlling


    These concerns generally feel very real and very important so it is quite common for you and/or your ex to become non cooperative and inflexible. The co-parenting becomes a chess game of strategy and a power struggle. The sad thing about this is when two parents cannot work together but both want to be involved the children suffer. Ongoing conflict between parents is a big stressor for children. It causes anxiety, loyalty bind, and other distress signs and symptoms in children.

    Co-parenting that works well and does not cause stress for the children occurs when parents:

    • Feel secure in their relationship with their child,
    • Value the other parent role in their child’s life
    • Are flexible and cooperative
    • See the benefit of different parenting styles
    • Understand and respect the parenting boundaries from one household to the other
    • Respect the rights of the children and know the responsibilities of parenting.


    This list may seem impossible when you think of your ex as your ex. However if you are able to shift and see your ex as the children’s other parent who not only loves the children but values you then co-parenting can work.

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