Deep Bench: Co-parenting challenges and how to work through them

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Published: Oct. 16, 2019 at 5:57 PM CDT
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There are healthy and positive ways to co-parent, but on the other hand, there are many blended families that struggle to make it work. And that can have a significant impact on the children.

Lee Shipway, a therapist who works with families at Peaceful Solutions Counseling in Wausau, joined the Deep Bench on Wednesday. She said divorce, in of itself, is a tough pill for children to swallow.

“Their whole world is torn apart. The mom and dad they’ve known as a unit, as a couple, the family is now disbanded. They’ve had no control over that and they’ve had no choice over that,” she said.

Shipway said complicating things after divorce is introducing another significant other into the mix.

“I think people make the mistake of thinking they’re just going to step right in and act like they’re that child’s parent.”

She added that the biggest adjustment for the child and new person entering the picture to make is to get to know each other and treat each other with respect.

“I really think the main biological parent needs to take the first step of being the disciplinarian.”

Shipway said there can be a lot of friction between a parent and their ex’s new significant other.

“There’s a lot of hurt feelings. That relationship is now gone, but you need to parent.”

She said it’s a good idea to bring all the adults together to a therapy session to work out those hurt feelings, to make sure all involved are making sure they’re focusing on the best interests of the kids.