It is no secret that divorce can be difficult for all involved. Instead of being the end, the finalization of a divorce is really a new beginning. A beginning which redefines the family, requiring parents and children to navigate living as a different kind of family, but still a family nevertheless. How parents handle their relationship during and post-divorce will directly impact the children’s relationship with each parent as well as children’s ability to have healthy relationships in the future. Despite the divorce, children still want and need both of their parents to continue loving and parenting them. For parents, however, the idea of co-parenting and communicating with the other parent is often very difficult because they still feel raw from the emotions that they carry as a result of the break up of the marriage, not to mention the emotions raised by the process of the divorce itself. Parents sometimes have a difficult time figuring out how to communicate and interact with an ex-spouse who they harbor disappointment, betrayal, rejection or other hard feelings toward. Yet it is necessary to do so for the children.
It is well documented that what causes the most harm to children during and after a divorce is how parents handle themselves and their interactions with each other, not the divorce itself. Research has repeatedly demonstrated that children do best, post divorce, when they have good relationships with both parents and feel that both parents care and are concerned about them even though they no longer live together.
Research shows that the more difficulty parents have in managing their disagreements and anger toward one another, the more difficulties their children are likely to have – with their siblings and peers, with their parents, with their teachers, with their self-image and, ultimately, in their future adult relationships. In fact, children’s need intensify during and immediately following a divorce. Sadly, it is often when kids most need steady nurturance that their parents – stressed, angry, bitter, and in need of nurturance themselves – are least able to offer it to them.
Please contact ITSNW to discuss your specific needs. Scheduling an appointment is easy, call (253) 460-7248 and we will be happy to help you.
During and after a divorce children need:
- two parents who can work together by putting aside the battle for their sake
- the love, support and guidance of both of their parents
- the “partnership” of parenthood to continue in order to have the best chance of thriving and growing in a way that will enable them to be happy and develop healthy relationships in the future
- to be able to love and be loved by both their parents – without fear of guilt or repercussion
- parents to work together (even though they have their own differences) to give the children a stable, loving environment
- the battle to not involve them
- to be taken out of the middle
At Integrated Therapy Services NW PLLC we understand the impact that parents’ display of hard feelings can have on their children. We also understand the pain parents feel, as they attempt to cope with their anger and all of the myriad decisions they need to make, not only for their children, but also for their own dramatically changed lives.
Our approach to Co-Parent Counseling is to regard the children as our principal clients. The focus in our sessions is on the difficulties between the separated parents only as they affect their relationship, roles, or conduct as parents. This is not couples or marriage counseling. We work to make sure the parents’ focus is the children. Our goal is to help parents unburden their children by learning to strengthen their ability to function and co-parent in ways that nurture their children’s well-being.
Through Co-Parent Counseling, we help parents learn to change dysfunctional, emotionally-charged communication and behavior patterns by helping them adopt clearly-defined, respectful, and dispassionate approaches to problem-solving and decision-making.
Co-Parent Counseling can help address:
- Unresolved anger and grief
- The challenges of a changed lifestyle
- Conflict in child-rearing philosophies
- Differences in child-rearing practices
- Issues arising from new responsibilities
- Concerns about role-sharing
- Discipline and rules
- Communication with the children
- The role of friends and family
- Boundary and triangulation issues
- Planning for communications with the co-parent
Co-Parent Counseling will guide you and help you build a relationship as co-parents. Co-Parent Counseling offers specific and practical suggestions to decrease conflict, resolve differences and help you parent your children. Co-Parent Counseling will require that you look closely at yourself and how you contribute to the situation your children find themselves in. To that end, the success of Co-Parent Counseling rests on the parents’ willingness to step back from their own feelings about each other and focus on the children, their new relationship as co-parents, and the new family they have created. Success requires the parent to always have their children’s best interest as their guiding value and be willing to examine and admit when that is not the value guiding their conduct. With this perspective, and with the new skills learned in counseling, parents can make a successful transition from embattled ex-spouse to empowered co-parent.