• April 18, 2024
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Will Co-Parenting have an effect on your child’s mental wellness

Will Co-Parenting have an effect on your child’s mental wellness

Saturday ,23 March, 2024

McCreadie Andias,

Many children go through parental separation each year that are not included in figures for most cases which their parents were not married.

When parents no longer love each other and decide to live apart, a child can feel as if their world has been turned upside down.

The level of upset the child feels can vary depending on how their parents separated, the age of the child, how much they understand, and the support they get from parents, family and friends.The child may feel a sense of loss, fearful about being left alone, rejected and insecure.

These feelings are often made worse by the fact that many children have to move home and sometimes school when parents separate, and most families in this situation come under some financial strain, even if they did not have money worries before.

Even if the parental relationship had been very tense or violent, children may still have mixed feelings about the separation. Many children hold onto a wish that their parents may get back together.

Whatever has gone wrong in the relationship, both parents still have a very important part to play in their child’s life.

Often divorced parents opt for Co-parenting where they collaborate to raise a child despite their decision to part ways.

Co-parenting can significantly influence a child’s mental wellness since the child’s acess to both parents is limited as compared to when they were fully parenting. Emotional and behavioural problems in children are more common when the parents are no longer living together.

Children can become very insecure and can behave like they are much younger and therefore bed wetting, ‘clinginess’, nightmares, worries or disobedience can all occur. This behaviour often happens before or after visits to the parent who is living apart from the family.

In cases where parents engage in high-conflict interactions or cannot communicate effectively, it can create stress and anxiety for the child. Witnessing constant conflict can lead to feelings of insecurity and instability.

In some co-parenting arrangements, inconsistencies in rules, routines, and discipline between households can confuse the child and create feelings of frustration . Without clear guidelines and consistency, children may struggle to understand boundaries and expectations.

Teenagers may show their distress by misbehaving or withdrawing into themselves. They may find it difficult to concentrate at school.

Co-parenting requires a significant amount of emotional energy and cooperation from both parents. When one or both parents are unable or unwilling to effectively co-parent, it can lead to stress and emotional strain for all involved, including the child.

In cases where there is significant animosity between the parents, one or both may attempt to alienate the child from the other parent. This can be emotionally damaging for the child, leading to feelings of guilt, loyalty conflicts, and a sense of loss.

For safe co-parenting, Parents should make sure that the children know they still have two parents who love them, and will continue to care for them, They should protect their children from adult worries and responsibilities by making it clear that the responsibility for what is happening is the parents’ – and not the childrens’.

These things will help your child be open and talk. Your child not only needs to know what is going on, but needs to feel that it’s OK to ask questions.

Reassure them that they will still be loved and cared for by both parents.

Make time to spend with your child.Be reliable about arrangements to see your child and show that you are interested in your child’s views, but make it clear that parents are responsible for the decisions.

Meanwhile, carry on with the usual activities and routines, like seeing friends and members of the extended family and make as few changes as possible. This will help your child feel that, in spite of the difficulties, loved ones still care about them and that life can be reasonably normal.

It is important not to pull your child into the conflict and by this you should not ask your child to take sides: “who would you like to live with, darling?”. Never ask your child what the other parent is doing and never use your child ‘as a weapon’ to get back at your ex-partner or criticise your ex-partner.

It is also highly discouraged to never expect your child to take on the role of your ex-partner. If you are finding it difficult to help your child cope, you may want to seek outside help.

Your general practitioner will be able to offer support and advice. Some families may need specialist help from the local child and adolescent mental health service.

However, if managed sensitively, most children can adapt well to their new circumstances and do not have difficulties in the longer term.

For example, Sarah and John divorced amicably and committed to co-parenting their daughter, Emily. They attend parent-teacher conferences together, share custody equally, and prioritize open communication. Emily feels supported by both parents and enjoys the stability of having two loving homes.

Whereas, Mike and Lisa’s divorce was contentious, with ongoing conflicts over custody and visitation. Their constant arguments create tension whenever their son, Alex, transitions between households. Alex feels torn between his parents and struggles with feelings of guilt and anxiety whenever he spends time with one parent over the other.

The two examples are perfect revelations of how proper and improper co-parenting can either positively or negatively affect your child’s mental wellness.

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