The Co-Parenting Handbook: Raising Well-Adjusted and Resilient Kids from Little Ones to Young Adults through Divorce or Separation

The Co-Parenting Handbook: Raising Well-Adjusted and Resilient Kids from Little Ones to Young Adults through Divorce or Separation

by Karen Bonnell, Kristin Little

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The Co-Parenting Handbook helps parents confidently take on the challenges of guiding children through divorce or separation and raising them skillfully in two homes.
Addressing parents’ questions about the emotional impact of separation, conflict, grief, and recovery, the authors provide a road map for all family members to safely navigate through separation/divorce and beyond. Through tested and reassuring guidance, parents will discover how to move from angry, hurt partners to constructive, successful co-parents who are able to put their children’s needs first. Chock-full of strategies to help resolve day-to-day issues, create boundaries, and establish guidelines, this handbook will help ensure kids and co-parents thrive.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781632171474
Publisher: Sasquatch Books
Publication date: 08/22/2017
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 600,669
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

KAREN BONNELL (ARNP, MS) is a board-certified clinical nurse specialist with 25 years of experience working with individuals, couples, and parents. As a divorce and co-parent coach, Karen is dedicated to thoughtfully resolving conflicts one person, one couple, and one family at a time. Highly active and respected in her field, Karen is a regular presenter on topics related to divorce and co-parent coaching, as well as advanced communication skills. She lives in the Cascade foothills outside Seattle. 
Contributor KRISTIN LITTLE (MA, MS, LMHC) has over 17 years of experience guiding parents and children through the emotional landscape of separation and divorce. She serves on the board of the Collaborative Professionals of Washington.

Table of Contents

Preface: Why This Book? xiii

A Note about Family xiv

Introduction xv

Chapter 1 The Journey through Separation 1

How Conflict Keeps Us Connected 1

What It Means to Uncouple 3

Separating "Spouse Mind" from "Parent Mind" 5

Key to Healing: Avoiding or Managing Triggers, Rage, and Meltdowns 7

Crafting a Separation Story: What Do We Tell the Neighbors? 10

High Conflict: When Your Ex Is Stuck in Blame or Anger and Won't Talk to You 12

Grief Isn't a Straight Path: Anger, Tears, and Acceptance 15

Forgiveness: Is It Worth It? Is It Possible? 16

Chapter 2 The Journey from Parenting Together to Co-Parenting Apart 19

Parents' Feelings: Pacing the Process 19

How Separation Impacts Parenting Style 20

Gatekeeping 24

Stepping Up and Stepping In 26

The Value of Two Good-Enough Parents 28

Co-Parenting as Allies, Not Enemies 30

Co-Parenting Goals 31

Your Co-Parenting Goals 33

Chapter 3 The Journey through Separation for Kids 35

Child Development and Adjusting to Separation 35

What Your Child Needs Most (At Any Age) 37

Don't Kids Deserve the Truth? Actually, No 38

Explaining Separation in Kid Language 39

Kids Caught in the Middle of Parental Conflict 41

Fanning the Fire of Parental Conflict 44

Kids as Spy or Private Eye: An Unhealthy Alliance 45

Tips to Protect Kids from Parental Conflict 45

Helping Children Work through Emotions 47

When We Feel Too Much for Our Kids: Compassion Traps 51

Answering Kids' Difficult Questions 52

Chapter 4 Settling into a Two-Home Family 57

Building a Secure Home Base in a Two-Home Family 57

Two 100 Percent Parents on a Parenting Schedule 60

A Clear Residential Schedule 62

Guidelines for Managing Your Residential Schedule 65

The Complexity of Co-Parenting Long Distance 68

Child-Centered Transitions 71

Good Co-Parenting Hygiene: Rules for the Co-Parenting Road 74

Sovereign Time: Independent Parenting 79

Helping Grandparents and Extended Family Join the Team 82

What about Miss Kitty and Fido? 83

Chapter 5 Communication Protocols that Work 85

The Five Cs that Guide Respectful Communication 88

Communication Protocols 92

Modes of Communication 103

Kids and Communication 106

Chapter 6 Decision Making 109

CEOs: Co-Parent Executive Officers 109

Joint Decisions Made Jointly 112

"Your Dad and I," "Your Mom and I" 114

Day-to-Day Decision Making 116

Responsible Informing 120

Emergency Decisions 122

Kids and Co-Parenting Decisions 122

Child Care: Babysitters and Leaving Older Children Home Alone 125

Chapter 7 Managing Finances 129

CFOs: Co-Parent Financial Officers 130

Educate Yourself: Co-Design a Plan and Implement with Integrity 131

Anticipating Expenses 137

Kids and Money Matters 140

Clothing and Budgets 143

Holidays, Birthdays, and Gifts 144

Chapter 8 Co-Parenting at Holidays and Life-Cycle Events 147

New Family Rituals Evolve over Time 147

What about Birthdays? 155

More Special Occasions 159

Chapter 9 Co-Parenting in Public Spaces 163

Emotional Readiness 163

Sports and Extracurricular Activities 165

School and School Events 167

Faith-Community and Religious Practices 169

Primary Health-Care and Dental Appointments 172

Peer Birthday Parties 173

Playmates and Their Families 174

Other Family Events in Public Spaces 175

Chapter 10 New Adults in Your Children's Lives 177

Adult Relationships 101 177

Introducing New Romantic Partners 179

Growth and Development 181

Timing, Pacing, and Adjustment 182

Adult Sleepovers 188

Romantic Partner or Stepparent? 189

New Partners at Kid-Centered Public Events 192

Chapter 11 The Co-Parenting Relationship: Skill, Acceptance, and Maturity 195

Co-Parenting Relationships Develop over Time 195

Impact of Changes in Circumstance 199

Co-Parent Skills 201

Co-Parent Styles 203

What If I Worry that My Children Are Unsafe? 208

The Key to a Difficult Co-Parent: Acceptance 209

Chapter 12 Raising Well-Adjusted and Resilient Kids in a Two-Home Family 221

Rebuild a Sense of Family Fun 221

Believe Your Kids Will Do Great Things 223

Love: The Balance of Nurturing and Discipline 224

Involve Kids While Protecting Childhood 225

Protect Your Children from Adult Problems 226

The Seven Cs: Helping Kids Build Resilience 227

Give Kids the Gift of a Happy Parent 235

Acknowledgments 237

Appendix 239

Additional Resources 239

Transition Communication Checklist 242

Co-Parent Business Meeting Checklist 243

Signs of Kid Distress 245

What to Tell the Kids about a High-Conflict Co-Parent: Teach Four Big Skills 246

Children and Chores: Suggestions for Tasks that Build Children's Skills and Confidence 248

How Do I Get My Ex to Accept a New Stepparent for Our Kids? 249

Choosing a Family Law Attorney 251

Changing Your Parenting Plan: What to Consider When Things Aren't Going Well 253

Inadvertently Harming Your Child's Relationship with the Other Parent 257

Index 263

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