From Dr. Jane's Notebook

Co-Parenting at its Best!

I recently spoke with a friend of mine who lamented how sad she was that her Mother had not attended their son's wedding. Its a terrible thing when a Grandparent misses such a landmark occasion in their grandchild's life. There are many legitimate reasons why people miss family events, but for her, it was simply to avoid being in the same room with her ex-husband, the child's grandfather. Now it is possible to understand this reasoning if the "wounds" of divorce are fresh, but in this case, the divorce took place over 25 years ago. In this family, the feud now spanned a quarter century, and affected three generations. What a price to pay!

In my business, we always say, "divorce is the end of a marriage, but not the end of the family". Co-parenting is a permanent commitment. How then should people resolve the pain of divorce so that they can resume the job of parenting in a civilized manner? Here are a few thoughts on the matter.

Some friends of mine recently accomplished this truce. Father and step-mother invited mother and step-father to dinner, along with their children. They issued the invitation and expressed their desire to "lay down their arms" and get reacquainted. They described the immediate awkwardness of the situation and said that it reminded them of the time when the in-laws first got together. Many years prior, there was a dinner between two other sets of parents who came together proudly around their children, and worked hard to get to know one another "for the childrens' sake". In later years, these same two couples shared the same grandchildren. They never became best friends, but their mutual respect allowed for amicable family reunions and family harmony.

In families, the circle of life continues. Divorce does not have to be a dead end. Our children are important to all of us. Share this article with someone "you used to love", and take a step toward completing the family circle once again. Relationships change... often for the better!

ęCopyright, 1995, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.

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Last Updated October 18, 1998 by Gary M. Grandon, Ph.D.