Cooperative Parenting Workshop

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Co operative parenting plays an important role in bringing up children. Maria Droste Counseling Center provides 5 strategies for co-parenting kids when in a marriage or after divorce.

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a workshop offered by Co-Parenting Specialist Chris Lewis EdS, LPC Maria Droste Counseling Center www.mariadroste.org

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www.mariadroste.org

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MA in Counseling from The College of New Jersey EdS in Marriage and Family Therapy from TCNJ Over ten years experience helping parents, couples and families resolve conflict and improve communication I’ve been there myself www.mariadroste.org

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Pretend you are a hostage negotiator Stay in adult mode no matter what Let the children be children Keep the end goal in sight and don’t sweat the small stuff Always “act as if” the other parent has the children’s best interest at heart www.mariadroste.org

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Establish the tone of the communication Use a calm voice and speak in a respectful manner no matter what is coming back at you. www.mariadroste.org

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Be supportive and encouraging about the outcome “I’m sure we can find a solution that will work for all of us.” “I know you want to get this resolved too; we both agree on that so I’m confident we can come to a solution.” www.mariadroste.org

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Reinforce any positive movement toward resolution on their part “That’s great that you are willing to do that! It really makes a difference. Thank you!” (Reality check: Are you brimming with gratitude? Maybe not, but remind yourself what this is all about: Reducing conflict and minimizing harm to the children.) www.mariadroste.org

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Compromise whenever and wherever you can This will not only reduce conflict, but increase the odds they will compromise down the line. www.mariadroste.org

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Listen actively, this helps to diffuse anger, reduce conflict Summarize what they’ve said to ensure you understand Affirm your understanding Don’t interrupt Be aware of posture, non-verbal cues www.mariadroste.org

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Children need at least one parent who is in control in order to feel safe -- BE THAT PARENT www.mariadroste.org

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Keep your interactions business-like Speak in a polite and professional manner. Have weekly phone/in person meetings for planning, concerns, etc. Hold these meetings away from the children. Keep old marital issues OUT -- the marriage is over. You are now a co-parenting partnership only. Any other topics are off limits. www.mariadroste.org

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Don’t reciprocate bad behavior with bad behavior If the other parent is yelling, cursing, being verbally abusive, tell them you will be happy to continue when they have calmed down, then walk away or hang up. www.mariadroste.org

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A little visual imagery to help motivate you to stay in adult mode: Imagine your children watching both their parents act like angry, tantruming toddlers. What would they be thinking and feeling? www.mariadroste.org

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You do need support people in your life, but your children are NOT those people Get support from friends, clergy, counselors, siblings. Your job is to support your children. You can’t do that if you are leaning on them for your own support. www.mariadroste.org

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Don’ts and Don’ts: Don’t use your children as spies Don’t use your children as messengers Don’t ever bad-mouth the other parent to or in front of your children Don’t fight in front of the children Don’t talk about failed marital issues with kids www.mariadroste.org

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Chris’s goal of parenting: To bring your children safely to adulthood with the emotional, social, psychological tools they need to live successfully. Make your own goal for parenting your children and use it as your guiding principle. www.mariadroste.org

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Children survive different parenting styles a lot better than they survive ongoing conflict. What’s the small stuff? Is bedtime really worth fighting over? Is diet?, clothing?, TV time? Is exact “equal time” more about us or about what’s best for the kids? www.mariadroste.org

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Why do I have to do that? For the most important reason of all: Because your children need to believe you BOTH have their best interest at heart. Unless there is real abuse happening, they probably do love their kids to the best of their ability. www.mariadroste.org

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Another benefit: If you “act as if” toward the other parent, this is likely to reduce conflict on its own because he/she will respond to your more positive regard. Try it! www.mariadroste.org

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Pretend to be a hostage negotiator Stay in adult mode at all times Let your children be children Keep the end goal of parenting in sight and don’t sweat the small stuff “Act as if” the other parent has your children’s best interest at heart How to... www.mariadroste.org

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www.Co-Parenting101.com www.ChrisLewisPsychotherapy.com The Co-Parenting Survival Guide: Letting Go Of Conflict After a Difficult Divorce , by Elizabeth Thayer, PhD www.Find-a-Therapist.com www.mariadroste.org

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For more information about co-parenting counseling, family therapy, or marriage counseling in Denver, Colorado, contact Maria Droste Counseling Center at 303-756-9052 or visit www.MariaDroste.org .

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