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Co-parenting for a less stressful divorce

Parenting does not end once the court nullifies the marriage. Many Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, divorced couples and their children can attest to that. The divorce process can cross not only the ties between the married couple but also their relationship with their children.

Studies have confirmed that divorce affects the child negatively and positively. Children of divorced parents have to go through emotional, physical and behavioral struggles compared with those who are not in families where the parents have divorced. On the positive side, children of divorce who live in loving homes where they can flourish have greater emotional maturity and independence. Divorced parents who manage to work together and put their emotions aside can help their children cope with their personal emotional struggles during and after the divorce.

For a divorced parent, it is vital to encourage a child to have a healthy relationship with the other parent. Unless the other parent is a threat to the well-being of the child, an ex-spouse must not let emotions come between the child and the other parent. The parent-child relationship can affect the children's self-confidence, their aspirations and relationships in the future. It is also important to respect and be kind to the other spouse, especially at events where both the divorced parents and the child are expected to be together. In those situations, civility can make the children feel that their needs come first.

It is never advisable to blame the other parent in front of the child. It is best to deal with all types of behavior while with the child and the ex-spouse. Any negative behavior against an ex-spouse may influence a child to choose the side of the other parent. As a co-parent, each spouse should be willing to work with the other and consider each other's parenting and opinions.

A child may experience the emotional toll of divorce and the parents should seek help if it is necessary. A therapist may give valuable advice to help the child and the parents cope with the new arrangement.

Source: Loudoun Times, "Co-parenting through divorce and toward two happy homes ," Dr. Michael Oberschneider, Oct. 13, 2013

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