“Collaborate, don’t litigate,” is the first of 11 successful co-parenting commandments in a recent article in Today’s Parent, about how to rock at co-parenting.
As many of us who work in the field of separation and divorce know, the process chosen by a separating couple has enormous implications on everyone in the family’s well-being. Choosing an adversarial process such as litigation increases the likelihood of your children suffering from anxiety, depression and self-esteem issues as well as increasing the likelihood they will drop out of school, according to a 2009 report for the Ottawa-based Vanier Institute of the Family. Choosing Collaborative Practice gives your family the best chance possible to emerge on the other side of the separation with mental health and self-esteem intact.
Collaborative Professionals encourage and coach parents to be respectful. Cameron Shouldice, a Collaborative Practice Toronto lawyer, is quoted in Today’s Parent, saying, “Treat your co-parents as a colleague.” Cameron also suggests hiring a coach/therapist to ensure that what you’re communicating to your co-parent is being received in the manner you’re intending. Collaborative Practice Toronto has several collaboratively trained coaches to choose from. Cameron’s final tip is not to sweat the small stuff. If some of your child’s belongings, (and yes, even that expensive new toy) don’t come back, that’s OK. Cameron says, “It’s the kids’ stuff and it belongs in both households. That gives them a sense of security.”
There are lots of other good tips in the article including “getting on the same page,” by using a web-based program or calendar to keep track of pick-ups, appointments and school events.