The Challenge of Co-Parenting

The Challenge

In the last couple of days we came across a recent interview given by Ronan Keating. Normally, celebrity interviews don’t quite catch our attention. When we heard that co-parenting was a topic discussed, our interest was piqued. Bath Avenue Counselling Centre have in the past held courses on the very topic of co-parenting, and we were very interested to hear what the former Boyzone star had to say on the matter and the challenges faced in such a situation.

Co-parenting is a challenge that is facing an increasing number of parents in Ireland. Many couples no longer stay together ‘for the sake of the children’, instead seeking a more appropriate and healthier situation in which to live and parent. With the stigma associated with divorce and separation dissipating slowly, parents are now much more likely to find an alternative to living together in what may well be an acrimonious and unhealthy atmosphere.

In the interview, Keating spoke of the challenges that co-parenting presents and how ‘you try for the children always to just remain calm and get through it’. This touches upon what is probably the ultimate goal of co-parenting: to offer the children the opportunity to grow in a home environment free from being caught in the middle of the parents’ hostility. Parents need to switch their role from spouses to co-parents. This is a substantial challenge but absolutely necessary to lessen the impact of conflict on the child’s development.

Co-Parenting

The benefits to the child of a co-operative parenting programme will last for their lives. One of the hardest parts is ensuring that the children do not get caught in a Loyalty Bind. This can be very unsettling for a child; the sense of being in an environment that is not relaxed and suffering the stress of parental conflict. A co-operative environment will help the child learn effective communication and conflict-resolution skills. It gives the child the best chance of keeping two active parents in their lives.

co-parentingFor the parents, a healthy co-operative parenting programme also offers benefits. It allows the parents to rebuild and develop their lives as separate individuals. It allows both parents to focus on current child-rearing issues instead of dwelling on past marital issues.

Ronan Keating isn’t the first celebrity to face the issue of co-parenting, and he will not be the last. Relationships begin and relationships often end. Sometimes, children are involved. As a society we would do well to acknowledge the difficulties faced, and to deal with the challenge of co-parenting in a responsible and supportive manner. The benefits will last a life-time, not just for the children but for the parents also.

Eamonn Boland & Valerie Kilkenny

Bath Avenue Counselling