Coparenting Counseling, parent coach, Blended Family Counseling

Coparenting Counseling is a problem-solving service offered to parents raising children between two homes who seek professional assistance in working together to keep their children free from the parents’ conflicts. Coparenting  is a child-centered dispute resolution service that assists parents in developing and implementing workable parenting plans when they are unable to do so on their own.

Blended families occur when couples have children from prior relationships and/or their current relationship.  Often navigating the waters of different rules, parenting techniques, and new relationships can cause chaos and unstable households for both parents and children.  Often times the other parents involved can also exasperate the situation.  Working with a counselor to learn new tools and techniques for creating a unique blended family can help make this transition easier for everyone involved.  

Parent Coaches can assist parents in creating healthy family life for themselves and their children.  Parent Coaches are useful for divorced as well as intact families.  Parent Coaches provide support, education, observation of various parenting techniques to help parents become the best possible versions of themselves as parents.  They also aid in implementation of parenting techniques that are taught.  Parent Coaching is similar to Coparenting except it can be used when there are restrictions in place that keep the parents from being able to coparent or communicate as is necessary in Coparenting.  When this occurs, a Parent Coach can work with one or both parents individually to help in the transitions of divorce and create symmetry and consistencies between two houses.

For some parents, conflict continues to create distress for them and their children beyond the divorce. Problems may arise over issues that are not specifically addressed in their parenting plan. For example, the parenting plan may say that parents decide together on extra-curricular activities for their children but may not indicate how to deal with disagreements about these activities. When a conflict arises, children often feel caught in the middle. This situation may put them at greater risk for emotional and behavioral problems—e.g., poor school performance, anxiety, uncontrollable anger, and depression.

While divorce itself places children at risk for various psychological difficulties, research has shown that the strongest predictor of child maladjustment after divorce is exposure to high levels of inter-parental conflict, particularly when the conflict is hostile, aggressive, poorly resolved, and focused on issues pertaining to the children. In approximately 10% to 15% of families of divorce, such conflict continues at a high level for several years following the formal divorce decree, and it typically causes the children and the parents to suffer significant and prolonged psychological distress.

Intense and prolonged inter-parental conflict can also cause problems for children indirectly. It can impair the ability of each parent to deal effectively with the children. It can draw the children into the conflict and disrupt the children’s relationships with one or both parents. In addition, it can lead to a reduction in financial support of the children by one or both parents, due to the financial costs of repeated litigation and one or both parents becoming less willing to contribute financially.

Even parents who have been able to protect their children from divorce-related conflict may encounter problems when new situations arise—e.g., remarriage.

Coparenting, Blended Family Counseling & Parent Coaches help parents by:

  • raising parents’ skill level in collaborative planning and decision making for their children
  • educating parents on co-parenting techniques and issues related to children growing up between two homes.
  • iidentifying sources of conflict between them and consider ways to address them
  • facilitating communication between the parents and between parents and others who relate to the children—e.g., grandparents, school personnel, and therapists
  • reducing chronic litigation (and preserve family resources)
  • using mediation techniques to deal with specific issues
  • applying arbitration procedures in certain defined areas when parents are otherwise unable to resolve a dispute
  • assisting the parents in compliance with court orders

The Coparenting Counselor & Parent Coach may do this by reviewing written evaluations and reports, and talking with other significant individuals involved with the family (doctors, therapists, school personnel, lawyers, etc.) The Coparenting Counselor & Parent Coach will meet with the parents jointly, and communicate by text and/or email. Home visits may be made to both parents homes.  The Coparenting Counselor & Parent Coach may provide reports to the court or testify with written consent of all parties involved.