To try and minimise the harm on their children, and themselves, many parents are now turning to concepts like ‘conscious co-parenting’ after separation.
“Having a discussion is the most commonly used process to resolve parenting arrangements in Australia,” says Kate Clark, Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, Mediator and Lawyer. “Conflict does not usually end when your relationship does. If you have children you are going to be in contact with each other and it really is in the best interests of everyone (when it is safe to do so) to work things out together. It will also save you from further heartache, stress and money. Parents that can sort out their troubles together can avoid worsening their relationship as well as the long, expensive trauma that litigation brings.”
How do you do ‘conscious co-parenting’?
“Talk with your ex-partner (without your children present) and ask:
- How is parenting progressing post separation?
- How is/are our child/ren coping?
- How can we respectfully resolve parenting decisions together?”
When you are discussing issues:
- Try and approach every issue with respect, patience and grace.
- Be mindful and compassionate towards your former partner and yourself.
- Be specific and future focused in dealing with each topic/issue.
- Ask yourself: Can I explain my concerns? Do I need more information? Can I be flexible? What options exist?”
Why is this best for children?
“If you model respectful conflict resolution for your children, you will lessen the harm that separation can bring. You do not need to agree with everything the other parent does, but you should try and show your children that you trust the other parent’s capacity to parent. Speak well of the other parent and their supports. Keep the lines of parenting communication open between you.”
We tried talking – it didn’t work!
“Now it is time to consider a facilitated discussion. Enlist the support of a Family Dispute Resolution mediator. The process is legislated and requires that the focus be on the best interests of children.
The role of the mediator is to be an independent third party, encouraging focused facilitated discussions between you about the best interests of your children.”
Clark & Associates Mediation Services provides Accredited Family Dispute Resolution mediation services
to Sunshine Coast families contemplating or experiencing separation
(07) 5406 0281 | 0417 756 410 | | www.clarkmediation.com.au