We all know that divorce is hard on everyone involved, especially the children. Invariably, it was conflict that led to the breakdown of the marriage. And during the divorce, conflict often increases, particularly when parents rely on attorneys and the Family Court system to act as stewards of the dissolution of their marriage.
Today’s guest, Karen Bonnell, a co-parenting coach and author of “The Co-Parents’ Handbook: Raising Well-Adjusted, Resilient, and Resourceful Kids in a Two-Home Family from Little Ones to Young Adults”, has observed that while conflict comes with the territory, loving parents have an opportunity to do what’s best for their children and commit themselves to developing their co-parenting skills and put aside their ill feelings for their ex in order to put their children first. Karen believes that when it comes to a child’s sense of family and security, what divorce breaks apart, solid co-parenting rebuilds.
In Karen’s book and other work, she stresses how important it is for parents to work together, and family court is the last resort. As we know, family court is, well, court, therefore it is not a place of reconciliation, but a place that is by nature adversarial. So anything you can do as a parent to stay out of court will be a positive force financially and emotionally, and everyone will be better off for it.
Key Discussion Points
- Karen’s background and what inspired her to commit her life to helping parents co-parent more effectively
- What is the ideal “parenting plan”? Do most parents it right and how important is it that parents get their co-parenting plan right?
- What does the term “uncoupling” mean and how does that impact co-parenting?
- What are common mistakes and pitfalls you parents making in terms of co-parenting planning, communication and keeping conflict to a minimum?
- What should we tell kids about separation? And in particular, what if there are circumstances such as an affair or other extenuating circumstances that need to be treaded lightly with children?
- What special considerations parents make if there are new romantic partners introduced into the relationship?
- Is divorce always a destructive on children?
- What can co-parents do to create the best, most healthy outcome for the children? What do kids need most?
- What do the terms “spouse mind” and “parent mind” mean?
- How can co-parents figure out “what’s in the best interest of kids”?
- Does co-parenting require friendship?
- Communication between co-parents can be very strained. How can parents most effectively communicate, even if there is no friendship there?