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We've been hearing a lot about this term lately, especially from Hollywood and are a little confused. Isn't this when both mom and dad participate equally in the raising of their children and, um, "parent," regardless of their marital status?
In Hollywood, to co-parent, you must be in the midst of a break-up. Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin have signed on to this style of parenting and most recently Sandra Bullock, who adopted her new son as a single parent, mentioned in People that she will continue to co-parent Jesse James’s children from his previous relationship. Yup, that means putting aside the awful images of him wearing swastikas and squelch the urge she probably has to hit him over the head with the nearest rock, for the sake of her relationship with her stepchildren.
As a child who enjoyed my parents' early attempts at not just joint custody, but co-parenting, I know some of the pitfalls. Parenting rules, though discussed ahead of time, don’t always translate from house to house. Often one parent uses their different parenting approach to parenting as a threat to the other parent or as a bargaining chip with the child. (I'm sure it feels good to be the "nice" parent or the one who spoils them.) But I also know some of the wonderful derivatives; spending holidays together, celebrating momentous occasions together, and being in a room with your divorced parents without feeling awkward, stifled or completely confused.
Michelle Borba, Ed.D., author of the Big Book of Parenting Solutions and iVillage parenting expert, says, “Co-parenting has been discussed by psychologists and divorce counselors for about a decade, but it's only become a mainstream term within the last year or two.” Demi Moore and Bruce Willis may have something to do with making this concept mainstream. As a veritable poster couple for the concept, they’ve shown quite gracefully, that divorced parents can come together amiably to celebrate their children. They seem not only to revere each other, but their respective spouses as well. In terms of growing up with divorce, this is about the best scenario any child can hope for.
Do you think "co-parenting" can work? Chime in below!