“In the wake of our divorce and despite the problems that ended our marriage, we have managed to establish a successful, congenial co-parenting relationship which allows our children to thrive and which causes those who know us to ask, “How in the world do you do it?’
That’s part of the “About Us” page message of ex-husband and wife, Michael Thomas and Deeshaw Philyaw on their website Co-Parenting 101, here. It’s a good resource for parents contemplating divorce or those already separated. More to the point, it’s that rarest of birds, a site that’s truly about keeping both parents in the lives of children after divorce. To get an idea of what the site is about, consider these “rights” I’ve excerpted from their “Bill of Rights for Children in Divorce and Dissolution Actions.”
4. The right to a continuing, relaxed, and secure relationship with both parents. 5. The right to express love and affection for, and receive love and affection from both parents. 9. The right to continuing care and guidance from both parents. 14. The right to have neither parent interfere with, or undermine, parenting time with the other parent. 15. The right to not be forced to choose one parent over the other.
Or this from Parenting Coordinator, Brooke Randolph talking about high conflict parental relations post-divorce:
Parents seem to forget that children identify with both parents as part of themselves and experience confusion when they observe one parent rejecting the other…
The fact is, these people are serious about this “two parent” thing. Theirs is not an encoded message about how to cut Dad out of the children’s lives or how to convince a judge that Mom is an alienator. It’s a nuts-and-bolts approach to getting along constructively after divorce that sacrifices neither the mother’s nor the father’s nor the children’s interests. What a concept. They also have a space for co-parents to tell their stories, and it’s there that visitors can get a taste of just how flexible they can be when the object is to keep both parents in their children’s lives. As but one example, a father wrote in to tell about his ex-wife moving back into his house many years after their divorce. She has a separate entrance and so does he, and a locked door separates their two parts of the residence. Their two teenage girls have free movement between the two. His wife saves money on rent and he saves money on child support. Into the bargain, she’s had a couple of health crises that he’s been present to help her with. The kids love and benefit from having both parents at home. It’s not the type of arrangement you see very often, but that’s just the point – where both parents are committed to keeping each other in the children’s lives, they’re free to come up with inventive solutions to the problems that face them. Then there are the “Ten Commandments of Co-Parenting” that once again seek to keep parenting equal for the benefit of the children. Divorce is now commonplace. With it comes the necessity of figuring out how to keep parents and children connected. Courts are so far doing an overall lousy job of it, but in many cases, parents are still able to work out arrangements between themselves. Co-Parenting 101 is a valuable resource for those who want to do exactly that. Thanks to Kristin for the heads-up.