4 Reasons Co-Parents Need to Call a Truce
October 22, 2022
Dads’ Resource Center recommends separated parents focus on peaceful co-parenting
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of children living with two parents has dropped since 1968, while the number of children living with just their mother has doubled. Co-parenting from separate homes has become commonplace, which makes it essential that we as a society get it right.
“Many separated parents find a way to work things out as best they can under the circumstances,” said Dads’ Resource Center Executive Director Jeffrey Steiner. “But when they don’t, and it turns into a high conflict separation, the children suffer greatly.”
All parents have their shortcomings and make mistakes. But the more they focus on the negatives of the other parent, any real or imagined micro aggressions, and indulge the persistent assumption of the worst intentions or actions of the other parent, the more their sons and daughters are hurt by their separation.
What do children in separated families experience when their parents engage in a bitter conflict over their custody?
- They are exposed to having strangers involved in their lives and making decisions that their parents should be working together to make. When separated parents choose to not work collaboratively for the best interests of their children, they become reliant on judges, lawyers, guardian ad litems, and therapists to manage their relationship. It is incredibly unsettling for children to have strangers so actively involved in their lives in this way.
- Live in a constant state of uncertainty. When mom and dad are going to court every few months their children know that at any time a judge may choose to change their custody status in a way that effects where they live and when they are able to spend time or communication with their parents.
- The children are left to believe that they are the reason their parents are fighting. While it certainly is not their fault, when their mother and father can’t agree on anything related to them, children know that they are fighting over them and feel responsible for it.
- They are constantly put into positions where they have to choose between their parents. What could be worse than always having to choose between your mother and father?
When separated mothers and fathers become overly reliant on the legal and court systems to sort out their differences, it negatively impacts the children as much or more than anything they may do as individuals. In this way, the systems meant to protect the interests of children do harm to them by enabling this process.
Separated parents should make the best interests of their children their number one priority. They should have regularly scheduled periods of custody that ensures children benefit from meaningful time with both of them, and they should be flexible enough to adapt the schedule when life happens in some way. They also should communicate in a cordial manner, not just about the routine aspects of parenting, but how their children are doing on a personal level.
“In a high conflict custody case, everyone focuses on how the parents are not getting along, “said Steiner. “But, the children are the one who suffer the most and there is not nearly enough concern about the impact this has on them. What children with separated parents need more than anything is for mom and dad to work together in an amicable way on their behalf.”
Dads’ Resource Center was started by Dr. Myers, a father of eight and the founder and CEO of AccuWeather. Its mission is to help combat the issues associated with children growing up without their fathers in the home. At its heart, the center is a child advocacy organization that aims to ensure that each child has the appropriate involvement and contributions from both parents. To get more information, visit the site at: https://dadsrc.org.
U.S. Census Bureau. Percentage and number of children living with two parents has dropped since 1968.