Co-parenting after a divorce can be challenging and complicated. Many couples mistakenly believe that all forms of co-parenting are inherently good.
According to Psychology Today, children of divorce have an increased likelihood of experiencing anxiety and depression. The three co-parenting types significantly impact this outcome, for good or bad.
1. Parallel co-parenting
Parallel parenting is the most common form. Parents do not argue but also do not communicate and operate their households independently. This approach may create consistency for children. However, there is no active discussion or collaboration between the parents.
2. Conflicted co-parenting
Conflicted co-parenting involves constant fighting, poor interactions and a lack of cooperation between former partners. This style can be particularly harmful to children. Family conflict contributes to poor outcomes for children.
3. Cooperative co-parenting
Cooperative co-parenting is the highest standard of co-parenting relationships. Parents work together to plan and coordinate their children’s lives. They also offer support to each other while avoiding unnecessary conflicts. This approach allows children to recover better from divorce. It also promotes a more positive outcome for all parties involved.
It is essential to identify the current style, establish a desired outcome and decide if that is realistic. Cooperative co-parenting is often the goal, but it may not be possible. Some reasons might include one parent’s unwillingness to change, substance abuse or other obstacles.
Regardless of the current co-parenting style, there is typically room for improvement. Therapy can help co-parents develop better communication, reduce conflict and establish healthier interactions. For those in the process of separating or divorcing, thinking about co-parenting styles in advance might make a difference in their children’s lives.