By Aurisha Smolarski, MA, LMFT
PACT Level 2 Therapist
The marriage and relationship have ended, and you wish you could just say goodbye to each other and move on. But . . . you have kids.
Relating to each other as divorced parents can be as much, or possibly even more, of a challenge than the marriage had been. Feelings of anger, hurt, sadness, longing, and relief may taint your perspective. But whether you experience an amicable or contentious separation, a continuing relationship as parents is necessary. You two are still responsible to each other for the care of your children.
“Wait, what? I still have to be in a relationship with this person?”
Just because you no longer share a bed or life goals, you are still operating inside a social contract that demands a commitment to the co-parenting partnership moving forward.
Fortunately, there is no reason why people who can’t be married can’t...
Patricia Williams, LCSW
Westchester, NY & Vermont
PACT Level 2
As a couple therapist, it has long been a passion of mine to help couples prepare for the birth of a child, not only prenatally but post birth, as well. There is substantial evidence that marital satisfaction declines when couples have children, and early interventions to counteract that are lacking (Cowan & Hetherington, 1991). In my experience, few couples are prepared for how pregnancy and the addition of a third (or subsequent children) will challenge their relationship and what they can do to make it an optimal experience as a foundation for themselves and their family.
I love the term birth bubble. Jen Pifer, who works as a doula and is also well versed in the principles of PACT, used those words to describe what she strives for when assisting in...
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...