Unfortunately, I had a pretty traumatic childhood. My parents were always fighting, and I was faced with trying to decide what to do about my own personal feelings. When I got older, I knew that I needed to do something to relieve the stress that I was feeling even many years later, so I started focusing on going to counseling. My first few appointments were a little nerve-racking, but the counselor worked hard to make me feel comfortable. I was really impressed with how gentle and kind she was, and I felt really great about the progress I was making. This blog is all about benefiting from counseling.
Just because the relationship between you and your spouse has ended in divorce doesn't mean that either of your relationships with your children have to suffer. But some divorced couples have difficulty cooperatively sharing in the responsibilities of raising their children following divorce. If you need help, co-parenting counseling is an option when one or both of you find it hard to keep personal feelings separate from parenting issues.
How Co-Parenting Counseling Can Help
Co-parenting counselors focus on a number of areas in helping parents raise their children without conflict after divorce. A counselor can:
Guide you in putting the best interests of your children first.
Steer discussions that begin to focus on criticisms, resentments, and past differences back to the child-rearing issues at hand.
Help you heal and learn how to effectively manage your emotions and anxieties.
Explain how your feelings and behaviors toward each other can affect your children—either positively or negatively—and their relationships with you.
Teach you and your ex-spouse how to communicate honestly with each other by putting aside negative emotions so that together you can make appropriate decisions regarding your children's well-being.
Direct both you and your ex-partner in providing a loving and nurturing environment for your children.
Work with the two of you in developing better coping skills and techniques for solving problems related to child-rearing in a respectful and fair manner.
Point out the strengths that each of you have as parents.
What Issues a Co-Parenting Counselor May Help With
Co-parenting counseling assists you and the other parent in successfully achieving day-to-day parenting goals—the primary goal of which is to provide a home life in which your children can grow and thrive. A counselor experienced in working with families impacted by divorce can help with issues such as:
Not contesting custody. A professional counselor can help the two of you develop a written co-parenting plan specifying how much time your children will spend with each of you, how you will make decisions regarding your children, the need to communicate up-to-date information about your children, and how you will resolve disputes that may arise pertaining to parenting.
Remaining equally involved in your children's lives. Maintaining positive ongoing relationships with each of you will help your children grow into emotionally healthy and happy adults.
Putting aside your personal feelings for each other. Otherwise, your children may suffer. Research shows that children who witness continuous parental conflict are at higher risk for health problems, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and antisocial behaviors. But by parenting cooperatively, both of you can give your children the attention they need. Co-parenting with a united front allows you to both attend your children's school functions, sporting events, and other extracurricular and community activities.
It isn't easy to change the ways in which you think and behave. However, if you don't try and continue to expose your children to conflict, you can cause anxiety and unhappiness not only for yourself, but for them too. Change takes time, but aren't your children worth the effort? For more informatin on parenting therapy, contact a location such as Associated Psychologists & Counselors.