It’s a novel idea: the proposition that two divorced parents would actually treat each other civilly and communicate regularly as part of a co-parenting arrangement. Unusual as it may seem, it’s the modern concept of how children should be handled after divorce. In Illinois and throughout the country, the principles of co-parenting attempt to foster healthy relationships between children and both parents. They require parents to communicate about the issues rather than fight.
The approach requires that two parents communicate and cooperate. It’s worth it for those who’re interested in their kids’ ultimate welfare. Researchers have concluded that less parental conflict results in better behavioral standards, academic achievement and psychological well-being among children.
A 2011 review published in the Journal of Family Psychology found that active co-parenting after the breakup, with increased involvement of the father, was a buffer against the negative effects of divorce. In one case, a formerly married couple wrote a book about it. It’s reportedly filled with tips on how to work together for the children’s best interests. They say that the key components to co-parenting are being mature and secure. Also, a generous and giving co-parenting partner will natu2rally reap the benefits of that caring approach.
This requires releasing past resentments, letting little things go and putting the children first. Sometimes we can turn the other cheek and let others have the last word. Parents should normally put an agreed plan in writing, setting forth some broad goals and some details. Family law courts probably get to see and approve such agreements more and more these days.
One supportive element of the arrangement is in keeping a full supply of basic living items at both locations so that the children are not constantly lugging their belongings around. There should be sufficient clothing in both locations. Other daily necessities should be in both locations.
In Illinois and elsewhere, a good co-parenting program after divorce doesn’t punch a clock. Instead, it makes broad swaths of time available to a child as the child’s needs may warrant. Instead of assuring equal amounts of time for both parents, the emphasis is on making the children feel safe and supported with both parents.