As early as 1987, clinical studies and family - parenting research have clearly shown how a toxic and adversarial divorce can have both short term and lasting negative consequences on children and teens. These negative consequences can also influence how that child or teen lives out their adult lives such as substance abuse, mood and anxiety disorders, attachment anxiety and other psycho-social challenges. Concurrently, parenting issues tend to be one of the most common areas of marital discord and subsequently the main reason why many couples seek relationship counselling. Thus, it should be no surprise that unresolved disagreements over parenting styles is one of the most common triggers for couples to seek a divorce and as well return to family court time and time again during a divorce proceeding or after the divorce is final.
Many theories and explanations as to why co-parenting arose in psychology, family law, and school systems. The common theme centers around sustaining a "family system" for children to grow up in by way of divorced parents collaborating in the best interest of the children. Co Parenting has two primary goals: the first and foremost it is a model that helps children cope with and subsequent live with parents who are divorced, the second goal being a learning platform for divorced couples to learn how to work together in raising, nurturing and guiding their children in a consistent and positive manner. We understand that a divorce can cause lingering, unpleasant feelings towards an ex-spouse in spite of the fact the marriage is over. However, a prevailing fact remains, both adults shall remain forever a parent to the children. Hence, what matters the most are the needs of the children.
Our basic beliefs in how we design and deliver a co-parenting program starts with understanding the pre-divorce parenting styles that addressed nurturing and guidance themes. We often find that parenting styles actually change after a divorce in the more positive for children when both parents attend co-parenting to understand the stages of child and teen development and the role divorced parents critically play in ensuring a child's positive growth. Early on in our program parents learn that the marriage may have been dissolved but their remains now a different family setting that children need to experience consistent, genuine and positive attachment experiences with their parents.
An effective and consistent co-parenting relationship between divorced spouses provides many benefits for the children. They are (this following list is not inclusive of all benefits from co-parenting):
1. Role modeling: children who see their parents interacting with respect and kindness are less prone to stress, anxiety and other social-psychological issues due to divorce;
2. Safety and trust: children need to continually experience safety and trust in their worlds until adulthood to develop effective life and social skills. When divorced parents argue in front of children and use children as emotional blackmail tools after divorce causes a child’s world of safety and trust to be replaced with fear, anxiety and shame;
3. Nurturing: one of the most powerful ways a parent can increase a child’s school and social performances is by way of being loved and nurtured from both parents. Parents who continually argue and fight over children replace their valuable time with nurturing with wasted time in conflict;
4. Consistency: it is sometimes natural for children to misunderstand, misquote and even fabricate issues in life. When divorced parents are able to communicate about their children effectively through co-parenting, a consistent, transparent and honest communication environment exists.
To learn more about our Co-Parenting program that is recognized by Hong Kong's Family aw Society and Hong Kong's Family Court, please click here to learn more