Parenting Between Households

Typically when parents divorce, one parent is awarded primary physical custody while the other is accorded visitation rights. The children travel between households on some type of a schedule. Most parents wish to participate in the positive and constructive parenting of their child and hope for the cooperation and support of the other parent. This process may be difficult and tedious immediately after the parents separate and divorce due to their feelings about each other. The sooner the parents can establish a positive way to cooperate with each other the better it is for the child(ren). They have a difficult time with the beginning of separating from a parent to spend time with the other. Children frequently "play to the audience in front of them." In order to feel more secure with each parent they may portray a preference to be with that parent. This phenomenon can complicate the parents already tenuous co-parenting relationship. Many divorced individuals find counseling very helpful to assist them in working out their new relationship with one another. The parents will each be encouraged to provide a similar structure for the children. The most important element here is for them not to sabotage the structure or parent child relationship of the other. When parents are constructively cooperative it benefits the child, decreases the parent's anxiety about the child visiting with the other parent and provides each parent with a partner throughout the child's life. Parenting alone or against someone is a difficult and painful endeavor that is detrimental to the child.

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