Twitter Facebook Myspace

The Big Lie About Co-Parenting

photo by greekadman via PhotoRee

Joseph Nowinski, PhD, has written a compelling article for the Huffington Post about whether or not co-parenting is actually in the child’s best interests. This is something I think about whenever I hear fathers of breastfeeding infants demand equal parenting time. While I appreciate the desire to be an integral part of your child’s life, I can’t help but wonder how the father plans to breastfeed his infant during his custodial time.

The idea of co-parenting between ex-spouses who are able to treat each other with respect, communicate in a healthy and adult manner, and work together to raise their children is brilliant.But what about a four-month-old breastfeeding infant? Is it in that child’s best interest to spend 50% of the time with dad? Probably not. What if, during marriage, Dad was responsible for 75% of child care while Mom worked full time and supported the family? Does it make sense, in the wake of major life changes (such as one’s parents divorcing) for the children to suddenly find themselves in Mom’s care 50% of the time? I can’t answer that question because it really depends on the child, the child’s age, the parents and their relationship after the divorce. From the article:

My personal bias is to try to roughly match initial visiting and custody arrangements with each parent’s level of parenting experience. For example, if reality shows that one parent has had 75 percent of the parenting experience described in the above questionnaire, while the other has had only 25 percent, after the divorce children should divide their time between the parents in roughly the same proportions, at least initially. Such an arrangement can easily be written into a divorce agreement, which might place a time limit on the 75/25 split.

Over time the less experienced parent should be given opportunities to “catch up” in the day-to-day parenting; for example, by taking the child or children to pediatrician appointments, by cooking family meals, and by supervising bedtime preparation. Then, as the less experienced parent begins to catch up, living schedules can gradually move toward a true fifty-fifty split. This gradual increase avoids making the child or children anxious and avoids having to separate a great deal from the parent who early had done most of the parenting.

What do you think? Would co-parenting work in your family? Have you tried it and had success? Or have you tried it and discovered that it’s not all its cracked up to be? Read the rest of the article here and share your opinion – we want to know what you think.

Pssst: Tomorrow is the last day to RSVP for our complimentary retirement seminar, Retirement Illusions: Where do we go from here? Click here to RSVP now!

The Story of the American Family

Illustration by Ellen Lupton

Here is a wonderful article, In Praise Of The Broken Home, written and illustrated by Ellen Lupton for the NY Times. From broken to blended, it is the continuing story of the American Family.

Back then, people routinely called families of divorce “broken homes,” yet a new phrase was already coming into play that cast a warmer light on the process of divorce and remarriage: “blended family.” As my own parents regrouped and remarried, they never used this kinder, gentler nomenclature, yet sociologists and psychologists were applying it in the ’60s and ’70s. Today it is common currency. Whereas “broken home” describes the destruction of an original family unit, “blended family” refers to the new marriages that sometimes follow. “Blended family” is about making, not breaking, and it implies a seamless melding of diverse ingredients. (Press “liquefy” on your Osterizer.)

Click HERE to read the article in it’s entirety.

Helping Your Children Through Divorce

1.  Tell your children the truth, with simple explanations.

2.  Tell them where their other parent has gone and when they will see them again.

3.  Reassure your children that they will continue to be taken care of and that they will be safe and secure.

4.  Your children see that parents sometimes stop loving each other. Explain that a parent’s love for their child is a special kind of love that never changes or goes away.

5.  See the wisdom in spending quality time every day with each child individually.

6.  Children may feel responsible for causing the divorce. Reassure them that they are not to blame. They may also feel responsible for bringing parents back together. Let them know that your decision is final and will have to be accepted.

7.  Divorcing parents often feel guilty and become overindulgent because their children have to go through a divorce. Give your child love and limits.

8.  Your child is still a child and cannot become the man of the house or the little mother. Continue to be a parent to your child. Seek other adults to fill your need for companionship.

9.  Avoid situations that place children in the impossible position of choosing between parents.

10.  Don’t use your child as a way to get back at your former spouse.  Avoid using your children as messengers between you and your former spouse.  Children can be terribly wounded when caught in the crossfire.

11.  Throughout life, you and your former spouse will continue to be the parents of your children. Pledge to cooperate responsibly towards the growth and development of your children as an expression of your mutual love for them.

12.  A divorce can be a time of loss for each member of the family. You are entitled to reach out for help and support.

13.  Be patient and understanding with your child.

14.  Be patient and understanding with yourself.