As a privately practicing psychologist, Dr. Miriam Galindo has offered counseling in co-parenting to many families as they go through divorce. Dr. Miriam Galindo has also worked with the court system as a custody evaluator and co-leads family reunification and co-parenting courses through the Families in Transition program.
Co-parenting can be both emotionally and logistically difficult, as it requires two people to put aside a challenging and potentially intense history to make important decisions together. To succeed, the two parties must commit to open communication that is focused entirely on the children. This means finding a different outlet for frustrations about the other parent, particularly in conversations that the children may encounter.
When children are in earshot, parents must be careful to speak only in positive ways about the other parent. This guideline is applicable when speaking to the children as well as to the other parent, who is likely to be more receptive to parenting discussions if he or she does not feel accused or put down.
Meanwhile, it is important for co-parents to keep rules and expectations consistent across households. This provides the children with a crucial sense of stability and keeps them from taking advantage of what they may perceive as an unstable parenting situation.
Children will, however, be aware that things are different. Parents should answer their questions as freely as possible, when it is age-appropriate, and reassure them about things such as when they will change houses and whether the family dog will change houses with them.