The advantage of going to the make-up session without my co-parent was the ability to 1) Share breifly how things had changes since attending the workshop and 2) Discuss things I would have been too uncomfortable to discuss while my co-parent was present. On the flip side it was discouraging because there sat another six or seven ADULT couples dealing with the very same issues and I just wonder why this is so hard. It was like “same families, different names”. The issues were so similiar it was almost erie.
Anyway, I did get to bring up the issue of step parent interference which was almost like a taboo subject in the class (at least to me) because it’s such a hot button issue with my co-parent and his wife. Also, I was able to comfortably comment on other people’s issues based on what I had learned previously. That may have been a good or bad thing to the moderators, but to me, it was kind of nice to lend support and encouragement to others, even though my own case still drags on.
All and all, I give the course a 7 out of 10. Starting with a 10 based on the need for the advice being offered and the likelihood that, given the participation of both parents, using the techniques and tools given in the class would improve the co-parent relationship, I offer deductions for the following reasons.
1. At the end of the course, they didn’t collect feedback from us. Even if 90% of the recommendations are not implementable, that 10% could improve the condition of children of two homes.
2. The class being scheduled during work hours could be catastrophic for some families. As important as this counseling is, it could be used against a partner or ex if the other party knows they are paid hourly (and thus have to take a reduction in pay to attend) or if they are already missing significant work for court, which was the case for me. Offering these courses within the neighborhood where people live, in neighborhood churches or schools, possibly choices during the weekend would be very helpful to some. Also, even though the courses ran well after school and BOTH parents were required to attend together, no childcare was provided. That was a real hardship.
3. I think there really should be some seperation of parents who were never married and those who are divorced – or at a minimum, recognition of the different issues that face those of use trying to raise “booty call babies” with a person who’s still dealing with the resentment of parenting at all. True all the issues that need to be address are only scratched on the surface in this six week course, but still, on many, many occasions, I found that I was a “deer in headlights” as they spoke about issues surrounding loss of marriage and divorce and this didn’t apply to me.
Still, even though I had been through most of the content of the course on my own through other counseling and reading, the effort of the court in providing this workshop is a positive effort and one I believe will benefit some families.
Co-parenting involves both parents working together to best meet the needs of their child. After parental separation, children still need to experience both of their parents as being a secure emotional base. That means, both parents need to be able to provide guidance, encouragement, rules and love to their child. Co-parenting is the best option for children because it is the best way to get their needs met and to ensure their closeness to both parents. Although it may be difficult, the key to co-parenting is to work together with the other parent and focus entirely on the wellbeing of your child. Children should feel that their parents are jointly focused on their wellbeing.