Responsible Parenting Guidelines (page 2)
Many couples with children who separate think that with the divorce their relationship terminates forever, however they are wrong most of the time. They shall have a longstanding task which shall last until their children reach adulthood. It is their responsible parenting guidelines or co-parenting skills.
These are a series of rules, guidelines, behaviors, attitudes, that parents should follow if they want to be responsible, with the only goal being their children’s well being above all.
Responsible parenting guidelines make both parents (even if they do not want to) to communicate, dialogue, be flexible and exhibit tolerance for the children’s benefit. No one is saying that this task is easy after a divorce by no means. The majority of couples enter into crises mode when their agreement which should be in existence after a separation is not adhered to.
Some of the obstacles which do not allow these guidelines are negative attitudes, behaviors, which inhibit dialogue and comprehension such as:
- They assume ownership of the child
- They compete with the other parent
- They are not flexible and do not adjust to a particular situation
- When the objective is not the child but the selfishness of one of them
- Their need in the their mind: to use their child as an instrument of anger to get back at their ex spouse.
There are times that the responsible parenting guidelines are not reached because there is no desire to cooperate, between both. But we cannot forget that many times the parent who is the most generous with their behavior is the one who most often obtains the greatest benefit in the long run.
Another factor is when parents decide to hire attorneys to represent them in divorce they spend their life savings and there comes a point when they lose all objectivity beyond the antagonistic attitude with each other to protect their children’s mental, physical and spiritual health.
Many times parents are court ordered to session with a counselor or therapist who will assist them in reaching some agreement. These parents can become so overwhelmed with the legal issues of separation and the material fighting of objects that they forget the basics of parenting.
In that case, the counselor’s task is to work with the parents on redeveloping the skills 101 needed to assist them in accomplishing the parental role effectively.
Some of the key issues are:
- Both parents accept they have shared parental responsibility and will behave in the children’s best interest.
- They should be able to recognize that their children have a right to maintain a positive and loving relationship with the other parent and each has the obligation of promoting that relationship, despite any difficulties which may exist.
- They also have an obligation to foster a meaningful relationship between the other parent
- They should not speak negatively or use derogatory remarks in the presence of the children or allow other the same
- They are responsible for their time commitment to their children and the other parent should not intervene
- They will behave appropriately on the telephone with out harassing the other parent or the children.
- Children should have access to private telephone conversation with their prospective parent.
- Parents should not question children regarding other parent’s personal life.
- Parents should communicate directly with each other and not use children as a messenger regarding money issues
- Parents should not exhibit negative attitudes or feeling concerning the other parents while a transfer is taking place from one parent to the next for home visit or vacation etc..
- Parents will not deliberately schedule activities which conflict with the time spend with the other parent.
- Medical and educational decisions should be shared by both parents.
Many of the above recommendation are forgotten or totally disregarded even by couples who live together. But many times these are harder to comply with when there is a separation, divorce or termination of a marriage.
Reprinted with the permission of the National Association of Social Workers.
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