Benefits of Co-Parenting After Divorce
Divorce can be emotionally and psychologically devastating for spouses and their children. There is often a feeling of anger and betrayal, perhaps because of infidelity or abuse, or the more subtle betrayal of hopes and expectations for a loving, lifelong relationship. With this maelstrom of feelings, it can often feel impossible to communicate enough to continue parenting with the other spouse.
However, effective shared parenting after divorce, generally called co-parenting, is tremendously valuable and well worth the effort it takes. For example, children seem to adapt better to divorce and both spouses are more likely to keep loving close relationships with their children. This seems to be true, according to recent research, even when there is high conflict. Let’s take a look at more of the benefits.
Benefits of Co-Parenting
1. Co-parenting increases children’s sense of security and reduces stress.
When the parents are working together and modeling appropriate conflict resolution styles, this also increases the sense of stability and relaxation the children feel. They don’t feel torn between parents, and see they can still be close to both of them. Young children especially tend to think that a divorce is their fault. Seeing love, respect, and safety helps them make the transition to a new way of life and also helps them acquire life skills they will need as adults.
2. In co-parenting, parents model respectful conflict resolution skills.
This gives children healthy models of problem solving as they witness their parents working out differences and difficulties.
3. Co-parenting increases the likelihood of 2 active parents remaining in the children’s lives.
With reduced conflict and better communication skills, there is far less disruption in the children’s relationships with both parents.
4. Co-parenting improves communication and relationships with parents.
Teen experts agree this directly decreases risk of risky adolescent drug, alcohol, and sexual behavior later.
5. Co-parenting decreases conflict.
According to Edward Kruk, Ph.D. as quoted in Psychology Today online ( May 15 2012),“Interparental conflict increases in sole custody arrangements, and decreases over time in shared parenting arrangements; when neither parent is threatened by the loss of his or her children, conflict goes down.”
The list of benefits is impressive, but a key question is: How can ex spouses who are now distant or at odds, actually make this work?
Stay tuned for our next blog post on co-parenting to find out! Or, you can contact us today for a free consultation.
Lorraine Segal, MA was a community college professor for many years, before finding her true passion for helping people communicate better. Now, she has her own Sonoma County ( Santa Rosa) based conflict management coaching, mediation, and training, business, Conflict Remedy. She works with parents and teens, couples, individuals and organizations to improve communication and resolve conflict. She also teaches in the Conflict Resolution program at Sonoma State University and offers workshops and trainings on bullying issues for schools and other organizations.
David D. Stein has been an attorney for 20 years and the founder of Liaise® Divorce Solutions. He is a trained mediator, dispute resolution specialist and lecturer on non-violent conflict management techniques and tools.