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Sunday
Apr062014

Does the PTA at Your Child's School Welcome Noncustodial Parents and Stepparents?

 

We are pleased to be presenting a workshop at the National PTA Convention--"Engaging Non-Custodial Parents and Stepparents"--in June.  In preparation for this presentation, we want to hear from non-custodial parents, stepparents, and PTA volunteers and leaders about their experiences.  In particular, we're interested in the following:

1) If you are a stepparent or noncustodial parent, have you felt welcomed by the PTA at your child’s school?


2) If you are a PTA leader or volunteer, what has been your experience engaging noncustodial parents and stepparents in PTA activities?

We welcome your responses in the comments section.
Friday
Mar282014

Gwyneth Paltrow, Conscious Uncoupling, & Co-Parenting

When I (Deesha) first read that actress Gwyneth Paltrow announced she and her husband Coldplay's Chris Martin were getting a divorce and that she described it as "conscious uncoupling," I rolled my eyes like so many others did.   Because given other public statements by Paltrow, it's easy to view her choice of "conscious uncoupling" as an attempt to somehow elevate and distinguish her divorce from all the others.  You know, the thoughtless, unconscious uncouplings... In response to Paltrow's statement, I tweeted: "Mere mortals get divorced.  Gwyneth Paltrow consciously uncouples."

But I did so aware that conscious uncoupling is an actual thing, not just another example of Paltrow's pretentiousness (which The New Yorker poked fun at in this satirical piece, that I didn't initially realize was satire because it was so spot on!). If you remove Paltrow from the equation, conscious uncoupling describes an approach to divorce that promotes personal growth and self-examination, and discourages blame and fault-finding.  Any approach that encourages divorcing parents to de-escalate from conflict with each other and focus on themselves more than the other parent, will ultimately benefit kids through a more peaceful co-parenting partnership.  So for that Gwyneth Paltrow deserves thanks for raising awareness of the fact that divorce doesn't have to be acrimonious. 

But then she went and said this about working parents... Oh, Gwyneth.

 

Sunday
Mar232014

"What I Wish My Co-Parents Had Known": Get Counseling When a Parent is Absentee

One of the most common comments we receive about this site and our book is from adults who say, "I wish this had been around when my parents were breaking up."  We believe that kids and adults who are (were) co-parented are the real experts on how co-parents can help their children thrive after a break-up.  So below is the first in a series of blog posts from the point of view of teens and adults who were/are co-parented or raised by single parents.  In this series, we invite guest bloggers and interviewees to reflect on their experiences being raised by co-parents or a single parent.  

We hope that this process of reflection will be meaningful and beneficial to the participants and also encouraging, instructive, or otherwise helpful for the co-parents and stepparents who visit our site. 

The next interviewee in this series is K.



1. If your parents co-parented you during all or part of your childhood, what are 3 words you would use to describe their co-parenting arrangement? non-supportive, non-existent, lacking


 

2. What is one thing you wish your parent or parents knew about your life after they divorced or split up? I never learned how a relationship is supposed to work from them.


3. What is one memory you have of the time not long after your parents divorced or split up? I remember how desperate my dad was to get custody of us. He wanted to move to California with us and make a new life.

 

4. What is (was) the most helpful thing your parent or co-parent has done (did) to help you deal with living between two households or with any other aspect of the break-up? My dad was always nicer than he had to be to our step-dads (there were 2).


5. What was (or is) the most challenging part of being raised by co-parents or by a single parent? My mom originally won custody of us, but lost it when she was hurt in a car accident. When my dad took custody, he never arranged for child support. My mom lived a lavish life while we were poor and struggled for food and clothing.


6. Many people have misconceptions about divorce parents and single parents.  What are some things you wish more people understood about your co-parents, about the parent who raised you primarily, and/or about the parent who did not raise you primarily? Moms aren't always good parents. I was raised by my dad on his own, while he struggled with depression and disability. He did a better job than she ever could have.


7. If you were a co-parent, what would you do to help your kids deal with living between 2 households? I would make sure they had counseling to deal with the confusion and problems that arise with an absent parent.

Interested in contributing to this series? Contact us at info AT co-parenting101 dot org. 

You can read the previous post in this series here.