About Coparenting Counseling
Coparenting is an enterprise of two or more adults, typically parents, who take on the shared responsibility to care for and raise a child or children (McHale, 2007; McHale, Lauretti, Talbot, & Pouquette, 2002; McHale & Lindahl, 2011). When children are part of family relationships in which they are cared for and socialized by multiple parenting figures, some sort of coparenting is occurring (McHale, 2007; McHale & Lindahl, 2011). In the 1970s and 1980s as more and more children began to be raised in post-divorce coparenting situations, evidence began to emerge that severe emotional and behavioral distress was occurring in the lives of these children (Emery, 1982; Hetherington, Cox, & Cox, 1978; Wallerstein & Kelly, 1975; McHale & Lindahl, 2011). However, in families where coparenting existed and parents worked well together and supported one another's parenting efforts, the children's functioning, development, and mental health were not as severely impacted, and children showed far fewer signs of distress (Bonach, 2007; Maccoby & Mnookin, 1992; McHale, 2007; McHale & Lindahl, 2011). Coparenting can make all the difference in the world for a developing child, and its absence can be devastating to that child (Reilly, 2014).
Unfortunately, high-conflict divorced parents typically lack any reasonable ability to coparent cooperatively (Anderson et al., 2011; Carter, 2011; Gaulier et al., 2007; Henry, Fieldstone, Thompson, Treharne, 2011; Maccoby & Mnookin, 1992). The high level of conflict in these parental relationships and the lack of coparenting, injures children even more severely than the typical divorce (Anderson et al., 2011; Carter, 2011; Gaulier et al., 2007; Henry et al., 2011; Maccoby & Mnookin, 1992). The intensity of the pain, anger experienced, and lack of forgiveness in these damaged relationships is immense and can be long-term if proper healing is not achieved (Bonach, 2007, 2009; Fruzzetti, 2006). These negative effects lead many researchers and clinicians to seek ways to reduce the trauma of these problem areas surrounding coparenting struggles and increase healthy cooperative coparenting (Reilly, 2014).
Coparenting, cooperative coparenting, quality coparenting, and positive attitude towards coparenting are terms that are often used interchangeably within mental health research. They are often defined as the process of parents working together in the same direction or aimed at achieving this goal. An attitude of cooperation and a willingness to work together and share decisions and the parenting process is present. The parents cooperate with each other for the best interest of the child. They share a belief that both parents are important in the child's life despite difficulties the parents may have with each other (Reilly, 2014).
Mental health counseling services, coparenting counseling, and divorce recovery services are some of the avenues available for families wanting to reduce conflict, increase cooperation, and find healthy ways to cooperatively coparent. The typical formats available are individual counseling for the parent and/or the child to help the parent and child adjust, cope, and recover from difficult situations, coparenting counseling for the parental dyad (coparents), or family counseling (Reilly, 2014).
If you are in need of Coparenting Counseling you are welcome to call the Conseling Corner and Dr. Reilly or one of our therapist will be happy to assist you with this process. Just give us a call and we will assist you with the rest.