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The commitment of co-parenting

Few people enter into a divorce without a great deal of thought. This is certainly true when it comes to married couples with children. When the decision to divorce has been made, though, the couple will ultimately decide whether they want an amicable divorce or one full of acrimony.

Children need the love, attention and care of both of their parents, as long as there isn't a reason for not allowing a parent to be with a child. However, children also need to feel safe, happy and secure in their home and family environments. That means that if the parents are continuously fighting whenever they see each other, the child will internalize those emotions.

One mediator said that she was helping a couple to reach an agreement on a 50 percent time-sharing parenting plan. During the mediation, the couple often resorted to accusations, judgmental comments, bickering and raised voice. Within 30 minutes, the mediator said she was exhausted. She also said she didn't know how debilitating it would be for them and their child if that was kept up for a lifetime.

She had to remind the couple about the rules of civility that were agreed to before the mediation started. She also suggested that they start to learn a new way to interact with each other and that mediation was a safe place to start.

The mediator told the couple that divorce does tend to bring out the "crazy" in people. She complimented the couple on at least wanting to have a divorce that was friendly.

Back in the 1990s, a counseling psychologist listed four types of parents who are divorced:

-- Perfect Pals

-- Fiery Foes

-- Cooperative Colleagues

-- Angry Associates

There was also a fifth type -- Dissolved Duos -- who don't have any contact with each other at all.

Parents decide to be one of these four types based on their actions. It's important for parents to discuss how certain situations will be handled, such as holidays, school events, vacations and more. Decide how you will support your child's social, intellectual and emotional well-being in your interactions.

Source: Huffington Post, "Marriages Dissolve, But Parenting Partnerships Are ‘to Death Do Us Part’ — What Type of Parenting Partners Are You?," June 01, 2016

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