Dr. Grace Graham, an independent clinical psychologist, has worked extensively with families affected by divorce. Experienced in conducting psychological evaluations for custody purposes, Dr. Grace Graham has also spoken in various venues on the importance of co-parenting for divorced couples.
The strategy of co-parenting requires a divorced couple to raise their children collaboratively. This can be a challenge for a couple whose interactions often cause contention and stress, but studies have shown that this approach creates the most consistency and stability for the children involved. For this reason alone, it is important for the divorcing couple to learn and implement best practices for co-parenting.
Experts have suggested that focusing solely on the children may be the most important factor in healthy co-parenting. When an issue arises, the couple should remain unemotional and calmly discuss resolutions that would be in the child’s best interest. Stability is also necessary in such a child-focused strategy, as children thrive when rules are consistently observed and when both parents agree on particular limits. And finally, both parents must avoid making negative comments about the other one, so that children maintain a positive image of each parent and can rely on them as healthy role models.
For more than two decades, Dr. Grace Graham has provided treatment for individuals and families facing a variety of emotional and psychological challenges. In her role as clinical psychologist at Charis Counseling and Psychological Services, Dr. Grace Graham addresses subjects such as co-parenting.
Co-parenting is a reality for many couples who separate or go through a divorce. Here are three tips for undertaking co-parenting with a former partner.
1. Learn to cooperate and communicate. Being polite to your co-parent is beneficial to the well-being of yourself and your children. If there is an issue that is bothering you, talk to your former partner about it. In general, you should set a regular time to chat about co-parenting matters, whether through email, on the phone, or in person.
2. Think about your co-parent’s strengths. Regularly tell your children about the areas in which their other parent excels, such as cooking or organizing. Your children will see that you recognize the positives in your co-parent and you will cultivate a more trusting relationship with them as a result.
3. Leave children out of conflict. Maintain a respectful environment when discussing your former partner around your children. Communicate with your partner directly instead of soliciting information from your children. Distancing your children from difficult situations will help sustain their happiness in the long run.