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The Big Lie About Co-Parenting

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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.

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The Myth Of The Tough Boy

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Stereotypes classify boys as tough, and girls as sensitive. In some cases, superficial behaviors can uphold this generalization, but, as is with all stereotypes, it is usually false. Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D., examines the deep vulnerability of boys undergoing a parental divorce in his article Helping Children Survive Divorce: The Myth of the Tough Boy.

The right way for a separated parent to approach insecurity in a young child is, first, to read these behaviors for what they really are: insecurity. They are not attempts to manipulate you, or get special favors. Rather than trying to ignore a child’s insecurity in the hope it will go away, or else resist the child’s efforts to get additional comfort, divorcing parents need to accept it and provide the increased comfort and attention that the child is asking for through his or her behavior.

To read his complete article, click here.

Dr. Kathy Memel on Divorce (Part 4 of 4)

Dr. Kathy Memel is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a divorce, custody, and family mediator. In the fourth and final segment of this live recording from a recent Second Saturday Workshop, Dr. Memel discusses how children manage the complicated web of emotions they feel during a divorce, how parents can help them better manage their feelings, and what happens if they don’t.

For more information about Dr. Kathy Memel, visit her website at www.KathyMemel.com.

Missed Parts 1, 2, or 3? Click HERE for Part 1, click HERE for Part 2, click HERE for Part 3.

Like what you heard? Subscribe to Ron and Robert on Divorce on iTunes.

Dr. Kathy Memel on Divorce (Part 3 of 4)

This is the third segment in a four part series featuring a live recording of Dr. Kathy Memel presenting at one of our recent Second Saturday Workshops. In this podcast Dr. Memel discusses why it’s important for divorcing parents to present a united front to their children, the best ways for the parent who’s moved out to stay in touch with their kids, and how to keep your child’s life as stable as possible even in the midst of a tumultuous divorce.

Dr. Memel is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a private practice in Beverly Hills. To learn more about Dr. Memel, visit her website at www.KathyMemel.com.

Missed Parts 1 and 2 of Dr. Memel’s interview? Click HERE for Part 1, click HERE for Part 2.

Like what you heard? Subscribe to Ron and Robert on Divorce on iTunes.