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What is Co-Parenting?

by Don Laird, MS, NCC, LPC, DCC

As a therapist I am often asked questions about parenting and parenting styles. Amid the shifting core of contemporary family structures co-parenting has become an exceedingly topical subject. Co-parenting, sometimes referred to as shared parenting, is the practice of raising children as a single parent when divorce or separation occurs. This can be a difficult process for parents and children, but it is not an impossible task and, in fact, may have its own rewards. Below are some brief tips that will help when it comes to co-parenting. Although everyone will find his/her situation somewhat different, there are basic generalities when it comes to shared parenting.

  1. RESPECT each other like mature adults. Do not talk negatively, or allow other adults to talk negatively, about the other parent, their family and friends or their home in hearing range of the child.
  2. Your child is not a spy. DO NOT question the children about the other parent or the activities of the other parent regarding their personal lives.
  3. DO NOT make promises to the children to try and win them over at the cost of the other parent. Trips and elaborate gifts should not be used as weapons against the other parent.
  4. COMMUNICATION. Communication. Communication. Communicate with the other parent and make similar rules in reference to discipline, bedtime routines, sleeping arrangements, and other schedules.
  5. It’s not about you. At all times, the decision made by you and your Ex should be for the child’s psychological, spiritual, and physical well-being and safety.
  6. DO NOT ask the child where they want to live. Additionally, visitation arrangements should be made and confirmed beforehand between the parents without involving the child in order to avoid any false hopes, disappointments or resentments toward the other parent.
  7. ALWAYS notify the other parent in a timely fashion of the need to deviate from the order, including cancelling visits, rescheduling appointments, and promptness.
  8. Both parents should WORK TOGETHER to allow the child to be involved in extracurricular activities and both parents should make every attempt to attend these activities together.
  9. INFORM the other parent of any change to scholastic, medical, extracurricular activities or appointments for the child.
  10. Keep the other parent well informed of your address and telephone number and your whereabouts.

Co-parenting means doing the right thing for your children. Always be ready to compromise and communicate with respect and civility.

If you are experiencing difficulty with co-parenting or are having a conflict in your relationship due to divorce or separation, please feel free to contact us to schedule a confidential appointment.

In good health,
Don

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I’m not in the Mood

by Don Laird, MS, NCC, LPC, DCC

We feel the love is still there, but the spark just isn’t. We get along fine,and there’s minimal fighting. We’ve been together for so many years, raised kids, took vacations, and lived as healthy as we could, but something went wrong. Months drifted into years, and now we’re realizing that we make for better roommates then sexual partners.

What happened?

You’re in a rut. You’re leading parallel lives, and don’t communicate anymore. You tell everything of any significance to your friends and family but not to each other. These are really big problems, and they are not going to just go away unless you deal with them.

The first step is to be realistic. If you’re looking for the knock-your-socks-off sex of those first few years, get real. Finding a new partner certainly isn’t a solution either. The initial passion in a relationship typically fades after about 12-18 months.  Hook up with someone new and two years from now you’ll have the same dull relationship you are currently experiencing.

Being able to fix a problem depends on what is creating the problem. There are many causes for loss of sexual desire. Some involve medical problems, such as hormones, other causes are linked to anxiety, depression or medications. If you have seen a physician and she or he has ruled out a physical issue then it is time to look at the other things that can lead to a libido drop. This may include addressing interpersonal reasons, with a potential lack of commitment in an emotional relationship by one or both partners. Perhaps one partner had his or her feelings hurt or has been turned down too many times, or one got too busy or neglectful. This doesn’t mean marriage kills sex and intimacy. It just means that sex may be the hidden conflict that neither of you wants to discuss.

Couples don’t talk about sex. We acknowledge that sex is important to marriage, but it is a subject that rarely gets discussed. It is healthy to let your spouse know what you do and don’t like when it comes to the act of sex. Let’s not minimize intimacy either. It is also healthy to let your partner know if you are less than satisfied with your sexual relationship and with the level of intimacy. Simply put, more talk of sex and intimacy can lead to more sex and intimacy in the marriage.

Careers, paying bills, obligations to family and friends, and parenting responsibilities can wear a marriage down. These are among the most common causes for one or both spouses to spend less time thinking about or engaging in sex and intimacy. Yet, all these endeavors are for nothing if there is no intimate bond between you and your spouse. In today’s world, we work hard at maintaining a particular lifestyle, but in the end the lifestyle we are working so hard to maintain means nothing if we lose our relationship.

If you are experiencing martial or relationship issues, perhaps we can help? Click here to schedule a confidential appointment to discuss your relationship issues.

In Good Health,
Don