Sunday, April 3, 2011

C is for Coparenting -- Day 3 of the "A to Z Blogging Challenge"

I can't count the number of kids I know whose separated or divorced parents use them as pawns to hurt each other. This is worse than the divorce itself on many kids because they are put in a position of acting as the go-between or feeling as if, by loving one parent, they are being disloyal to the other. There is another way, though. It is called coparenting.
I first learned about coparenting from the best mother I know, my daughter. She has two daughters and one son by two different ex-husbands and somehow works with most of the other parties involved to create a loving, secure family for not only her own three children but their assorted half and step siblings. Not only that, her best friend and her two children have been integrated as part of this extended, or chosen, family. This makes nine children who, between them have four "moms" and two "dads" to turn to. While the fathers don't socialize much with each other, the mothers have all become good friends and frequently "hang out" with each other.
The players in this little drama are:

  The Adults:

    A = My daughter
    B = My daughter's ex-husband number 1, the father of her two daughters -- out of the picture
    C = My daughter's ex-husband number 2, the father of her son (his second).
    D = My daughter's ex-husband number 2's first wife, mother of his first son
    E = My daughter's ex-husband number 2's first wife's current husband, father of their daughter
    F = My daughter's ex-husband number 2's current wife. Mother to his two step children.
    G = My daughter's best friend, mother to the two "extras" in the mix.
  The Children:

    1 = A&B's daughter (17).
    2 = A&B's daughter (15).
    3 = A&C's son (14).
    4 = C&D's son (15), half brother of 3 and stepbrother of 1 and 2.
    5 = D&E's daughter (8), half sister of 4.
    6 = F's Daughter (10), C's stepdaughter. Stepsister to 3.
    7 = F's Son (6), C's stepson. Stepbrother to 3.
    8 = G's daughter (11) -- chosen family.
    9 = G's son (9)-- chosen family.

Naturally, there are conflicts at times between parenting styles but with a little bit of communication they are ironed out. At any given point any of these nine children can call on any of the six adults for help, advice, sympathy, etc . . . . They know that what they say will be held in confidence unless it is not in their best interest to do so. These kids are also allowed to stay at any of the parents' homes as long as the primary parent okays it. It is not uncommon for all 9 of them to spend a weekend together with one or more of the parents. This way all the adults get the occasional break.

I know it all seems complicated, but the best thing about it is that all the children involved feel accepted and loved no matter what they do or which home they are in. I know that coparenting won't work for everyone, and and is rarely carried to the extreme extended family situation my daughter and her children enjoy, but I honestly think that all divorced parents, should work together more.

The most useful sites I have found that explain coparenting are listed below. They give resources and information and there is even a site where you can sign up for an online coparenting class.

There are many other good sources on coparenting online.  All you have to do is look.


  1. This is an excellent post full of great information. My sons are not yet married, but I hope if a situation arises such as you describe, I will be able to handle it with the grace and love you demonstrate...

    Imagination Lane

  2. Goodness me, and I thought that having just one convectional family was hard work.
    I have to say that if you daughter has gone trough two divorces, as painful as that must be, and still manages to get along with everyone involved in her children's education and family life she must be the closest thing to the most forgiving and loving person on Earth.
    I think that the most difficult part on this equation is to forgive and not judge the other mums and dads all the time, and if can do this you are blessed with a great daughter.
    A big hug from Spain.

  3. Wow - that sounds amazing yet so complicated. I think it's great though that everyone gets along and operates in the best interest of the children.

    Nice C post. Very informative.