Cooperative Parenting After Divorce

Ask the Experts by Sonya Thompson

Q: I feel like my ex-husband and I cannot get along. I am not sure how to put aside our differences - can you help?

A: Feeling hurt or angry is common. If you want to succeed as co-parents, the "co" has to mean cooperation.

Shifting roles from former spouse to co-parents can be challenging. Parents might find it difficult to manage anger or hurt without putting their children in the middle. Criticism of the other parent in the presence of the child can be detrimental.

Regardless of the family structure, children need parents who are dedicated to their well-being, and who separate their personal problems and conflicts from their role as co-parents.

You can start the process of co-parenting with a fresh perspective by applying a couple of strategies:

  • Allowing the children to love both parents: parents can work to identify valuable and positive attributes of the child's other parent. They learn to create a loving environment that minimizes stress, especially during transitions. They become knowledgeable of the loyalty the child has for both parents.
  • Changing your long-term role (Letting Go or Holding On): divorced parents can examine the prior attachment they once shared. By recognizing that the bitterness he or she has is another way of holding on. However, once you disengage emotionally, the grief process can begin. Only then, you can start forgiveness and discuss values and future rituals. Parents start to realize that they are separate but equal partners in their children's lives.

Save the Date

Making Modern Divorced Families Work: During and After the Divorce

Presented by The Family Center, CARE of Southeastern Michigan and Cleland Collaborative Solutions

Tuesday, April 26, 2017, 7pm

Christ Church Grosse Pointe, 61 Grosse Pointe Blvd., Grosse Pointe Farms

FREE, Register online at or call 313.432.3832

Sonya Thompson is a public information specialist at CARE of Southeastern Michigan and provides drug and alcohol prevention services to the Detroit/Wayne County community. She has 13 years of experience working in human services. Thompson can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 313.332.0972. CARE of Southeastern Michigan is a member of The Family Center's Association of Professionals.

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