Nancy Muthoyo, a counsellor, advices that co-parenting should be done in the right way and very strategically in order to ensure that children feel safe.
“When co-parenting is done properly it ensures that the children know that they are still loved by both parents as they still have access to both parents. Though they are aware that they do not live in the same home, the presence of both parents’ in their life is crucial for the child’s peace of mind. There are no winners in a broken home but they can manage how bad things can get by managing their separation with respect,” explains Nancy.
However, she notes that this is not always easy because relationships often never end on a good note. “Two individuals who are hurt, bitter and hateful can aim to do the worst kind of damage to each other. Nevertheless, a parent who holds their ex-spouse at ransom by prohibiting visitation or access to the children does not serve the best interest of their kids, they are only being cruel and selfish. Only a violent and abusing parent is denied access in order to protect the child,” states Nancy.
Nancy, further, reiterates that parents should avoid bad mouthing each other to the children because that only hurts the child who sees their parent as a hero. “Good or bad, our parent’s reign supreme in our hearts and the fabric of our identity is woven from theirs. So, you hurt a child when you talk badly about his parent.”
Additionally, she states that for co-parenting to work it requires a well-structured plan. “If there are no rules to guide separated parent’s on how to manage a family living apart, it will lead to conflict. If a couple is not able to come up with an agreement together, they should involve an impartial mediator. The mediator does not have to be a lawyer but someone who both parties respect.”
Lastly, Nancy provides that counselling for parents who are separating or divorcing is key as it to ensuring that co-parenting is done properly. “Counselling can help deal with the negative feelings held by exes when a relationship comes to an end. I believe that counselling is a duty separating parents owe their children. Separating or divorcing parents need closure in order to be able to deal with each other as amicably as possible for the sake of the child.”