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Conscious co-parenting, difficult but possible

Children are curious by nature and have been equated to sponges that soak up information squeezed from the relationships and environments in which they live. Divorced parents can likely relate to this metaphor as they face the many challenges that accompany divorce, childrearing and co-parenting.

A couple may choose to divorce for a number of reasons. In most cases, however, conflict and differences in points of view are ultimately what drive a couple apart. For divorced parents, it can be difficult to let go of feelings of anger and resentment towards an ex-spouse. Doing so, however, is extremely important for the mental and emotional health of shared children.

Since the recent announcement by actress Gwyneth Paltrow that she and musician, Chris Martin, are divorcing; much has been written about the terms conscious uncoupling and conscious co-parenting. Some insist that conscious co-parenting is not possible as the things that drove a couple to divorce will ultimately continue to cause conflict post-divorce. Others, however, contend conscious co-parenting is possible, but isn't as easy or idyllic as Paltrow believes.

Spouses who disagreed and argued with one another during a marriage will continue to do so post-divorce. When children are involved, lingering negative feelings towards and ex-spouse may cloud one's perspective and affect a mom's or dad's ability to effectively co-parent. The fact is that co-parenting requires both parents to grow up and set aside their own personal feelings and pride.

Parents who co-parent successfully don't speak ill of one another in front of shared children. They also don't argue in front of children or engage in passive-aggressive behaviors and actions. While, at times, it can be incredibly difficult to keep one's mouth shut and remain composed, doing so will ultimately benefit both a divorced parent and provide the foundation for a child to develop into a happy and well-adjusted adult, which is every divorced parent's ultimate goal.

Source: Today.com, "Gwyneth's goal: Is conscious co-parenting attainable?," Sarah Maizes, April 5, 2014

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