By Aurisha Smolarski, MA, LMFT
PACT Level 2 Therapist
No one said parenting was easy, let alone co-parenting with an ex.
Learning how to co-parent is complicated. It’s a partnership full of emotional undertones and adjustments. Being divorced or separated and having to juggle the co-parenting realities adds layers of coordination and factors to consider.
Personal and romantic priorities shift, as do the feelings and perceptions about your parenting partner. One thing remains unchanged: a responsibility to ensure that each of your children feels safe and can thrive within the changes and new situations they encounter.
Experiencing divorce and living in two homes are difficult enough for a child, but it’s the way in which the parents handle their divorce and work together on behalf of the child that creates long-term impact.
A break in the family structure can be incredibly destabilizing for a child. The transition...
Kara Hoppe, MA, LMFT
PACT Level 2
Los Angeles, CA
I recently became a parent to a beautiful baby boy, and I can speak from my own experience when I say that the struggle of mothering and coupling is real. I now have a new appreciation for the complexity and depth of parenting and partnering. By bringing that experience to my work with couples who are parents, I have found that honing in and practicing win-wins are two of the many PACT skills key to supporting a couple as parents.
Negotiating win-wins (i.e., where both partners win) can be a game changer for couples, especially couples with kids. It takes courage to ask for what we need as individuals and parents, and asking for what we need/want is fundamental to achieving a win-win. This process can lead to...
Jason Brand, LCSW
PACT Level II
Video games used to have joysticks—simple black boxes with a red trigger button and a stick for movement. Today they have controllers that are multi-buttoned, provide sensory feedback, and obey spoken commands. In many families, I see a longing to return to the joyful days of the joystick. In these families, the controller has become far more than just a way to manipulate video games on the digital screen; it is the nexus of a power struggle for healthy development in the child.
Michael, age fourteen, was caught up in this kind of family drama. Unlike kids who act out and do dangerous things outside the home, Michael was “acting in” by refusing to do anything away from the digital screen. His parents had lost control. They swung between desperate extremes. In one moment, they were gently delivering dinner to the computer because he refused to come to the table and eat. In the next, they were violently...