Published advice from family counselors has raised awareness of the impact of divorce on children. Consequently, many Travis County parents who thought marital dissolution was a solely personal experience now know children have strong emotional and behavioral responses to divorce.
Parents are beginning to learn that, no matter what precipitates the breakup of a marriage, co-parenting skills are essential. Counselors feel that custodial and non-custodial parents must play active roles in their children's lives to minimize the emotional hardships of divorce.
The effort can be complicated when leftover hurt or anger gets in the way.
Children adjust to no longer sharing the same household with both parents as long as former spouses work with one another. Experts say the trick to learning how to co-parent is changing the relationship with an ex to a business communication instead of an emotionally-charged battle.
No single counseling prescription will fit the needs of every post-divorce, co-parenting situation but some commonly-used strategies are successful. Parents are encouraged to develop agreements that allow both ex-spouses generous amounts of parenting time.
Counselors say children need to connect often with each parent to maintain positive relationships. Willingness for time flexibility is required, especially on the part of an Austin custodial parent who may feel that rigid visitation times are best.
Children become emotionally trapped when divorced parents disagree over custody issues. Time conflicts may not be worth the argument when stacked against the possible harm a dispute causes children.
Family advisers realize that spouses may not have been able to make a marriage work, but both are needed to raise children effectively. Parents may want to base parenting decisions on how they would have handled them if the divorce never happened.
Divorce may seem like a solitary, painful road for many Texas parents. Support systems are available at a personal level through family and friends and professionally through divorce attorneys and specialized therapists.
Source: huffingtonpost.com, "Cooperative Co-Parenting: Keys To Making It Work," Rosalind Sedacca, March 4, 2013