Children and Parenting

Collaborative practice is committed to supporting children and their parents through painful emotional challenges often experienced during a divorce or separation. We believe that children in divorce should be at the center but not in the middle of the issues their parents need to resolve.

Collaborative practice provides children with advocacy, support and a voice in the process based on the idea that children deserve the best parenting they can get from both parents. To that end, neutral child specialists or neutral family specialists help parents create developmentally appropriate parenting plans designed to meet the needs of children as they grow. These specialists can also help guide parents in telling their children about the divorce and can provide after-care once the divorce is complete. The process can be tailored to meet the needs of each family.

Collaborative professionals are child-centered in the following ways:

  • Helping parents prepare for a successful transition from partner to co-parent.
  • Supporting parents to create or maintain healthy patterns of communication with each other and with their children.
  • Providing appropriate resources and referrals for parents and children struggling with common emotional consequences of a divorce or break up such as loneliness, anxiety or depression.

During the process of a divorce or separation, it is not uncommon for children to show signs of internal emotional distress, to regress, or to act out their confusion, stress and negative feelings. But with sufficient parental attunement to their needs, shared parental commitment to keep them out of the middle, and the continuation of safe, appropriate attachments to both parents, children can emerge from the crisis with resilience and hope for the future.

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