Children of divorce benefit from strong and healthy relationships with both parents and require to be shielded from their parents’ conflicts. The key to successful co-parenting and parallel parenting after separation or divorce is to keep the focus on your children.
What is Co-Parenting?
Co-parenting is an arrangement in which both parents continue to jointly participate in their children’s upbringing and activities. This usually involves a substantial amount of interaction between the parents. In this arrangement, both parents are on the same page enough to co-parent effectively, proactively address issues, and conflict is minimal.
What is Parallel Parenting?
Parallel parenting is a good solution for parents who want to attempt to co-parent when they have high conflict.
It is an arrangement in which separated or divorced parents’ co-parent by means of disengaging from each other and having limited direct contact in situations where they have demonstrated they are unable to communicate with each other in a respectful manner. Parallel parenting typically includes most communication being non-personal and business-like; schedules shared via calendar to minimize conflict; no personal information shared with the other parent in any form, and no changes to schedules are made without written agreement. Neither in parallel parenting nor co-parenting are the children used as messengers to communicate back and forth between parents.
Co-Parenting/Parallel Parenting Method
I have specialized training in assessing, conceptualizing and intervening in problems associated with high-conflict co-parenting/parallel parenting from a research-oriented and skills-based approach. New Ways for Families is a structured parenting skills method intended to reduce the impact of conflict on the children in potentially high-conflict divorce and separation cases in New Jersey. This process helps to protect children as their families re-organize in new ways after a separation or divorce by teaching parents’ skills for long-term co-parenting, decision making and self-management. This program is skills-based, emphasizing strengthening skills for positive future behavior, including putting their children first by jointly making decisions out-of-court. New Ways teaches both parents the same skills at the same time, thereby eliminating the parenting contest and the tendency for parents to become defensive. By learning small skills in small steps, parents will learn to better communicate, manage their emotions, and make decisions that are in the best interest of their children.
Benefits of Co-Parenting and Parallel Parenting for Children
- Feel a sense of security: Children who maintain a close bond with both parents and are more likely to have higher self-esteem.
- Have better psychological adjustment into adulthood: Research suggests that adults raised in divorced families report higher self-esteem and fewer trust issues if they had close to equal time with both parents.
- Higher likelihood children will grow up with a healthier template for seeing their parents cooperate. This is true even if they practice parallel parenting and are disengaged as long as they are respectful.
- Foster good communication skills: By cooperating with their other parent, you establish a life pattern of healthy relating that can carry your children into their future. This includes graduations, weddings, and family events.
- Have better problem-solving skills: Children and adolescents who witness their parents cooperate are more likely to learn how to effectively resolve problems themselves.
Co-Parenting/Parallel Parenting Protocol
- Review of Relevant Documentation (Assessment Phase Part I): I require to review any and all documents that are deemed relevant to my role and responsibilities. These include, but are not limited to, any judicial orders (or consent orders) that have been signed in connection with this case and that are relevant to the issues, any final judgment of divorce that may have been entered in this case, custody/ parenting time evaluations that may have been completed by an expert, pleadings relevant to the my role, and any written post-judgment parenting plans that may be in effect, and any other documents or information deemed relevant or necessary.
- Clinical Interviews & Collateral (Assessment Phase Part II): Individual interviews are required to occur with both co-parents. As a part of the assessment phase, I require to obtain information from certain collateral sources (e.g., custody evaluator, previous or current therapist for parents and children, etc).
- Intervention Phase: Upon completion of the assessment phase, my conceptualization of the interacting factors resulting in co-parenting conflicts will be provided to the co-parents, and if applicable, attorneys and the court. A proposed plan of action will be tailored specifically for your family’s unique situation.
Goals of Co-Parenting/Parallel Parenting
- To immunize families against becoming high-conflict families during the separation and the divorce process
- To help parents teach their children resilience in this time of huge and rapid change in the foundation of their family life
- To strengthen both parent’s abilities to make parenting decisions, while relying less on experts and the courts to make their decisions for them
- To assist professionals and the courts in assessing both parent’s potential to learn positive ways of problem-solving and organizing their family after a separation or divorce
- To give parents a chance to change poor parenting behaviors (including abuse and alienation) before long-term decisions are made. This method emphasizes learning new skills for positive future behavior
Process of Retaining Dr. Forshee, Psy.D, LCSW
I accept both court-involved and non-court involved co-parenting/parallel parenting matters in. For court-involved cases in New Jersey, prior to appointing me in an order, please have your attorney contact my office to schedule a brief consultation call to provide preliminary information. Next steps will be provided to your attorney. As a business practice, I do not accept court-appointed matters where one or both parties are pro-se.