Coaches can bring out the best of us in life and sport but they can also be influential voices on the home front.
Co-parent coaches are increasingly being sought by couples as they grapple with the challenge of shared parenting after separation and divorce.
Ceri Bruce is a Senior Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner at Centacare and supports parents to overcome factors that impede their ability to work together while living apart.
“Co-parent coaching does not involve delving into past behaviours or individual issues but rather assists parents to identify what it is that is blocking the co-parent alliance,’’ Ceri said.
“We assist them to try out new ways with specific behaviour strategies, or to change flawed thinking that is preventing them from reaching their family goals.’’
Parents accessing Centacare’s Family Dispute Resolution service can be referred to Co-Parenting Coaching and are coached over one-hour sessions, with a focus on respectful decision-making in the best interests of their child.
“The intention is always for children to get the best possible version of separation from both families in both households,’’ Ceri said.
“Sometimes it’s just about helping the parents communicate when they might not want to or think that they don’t need to.
“Our role is to help them separate themselves from their own needs and intent, in order to focus on what’s best for the child.’’
Together, parents are encouraged to set clear and consistent boundaries and practices that work in both homes, creating a sense of stability, security and safety for their children.
“Children benefit because they develop meaningful attachment with both parents as well as significant family members, which is crucial for their overall wellbeing,’’ Ceri said.
“Parents also learn strategies for self-care, and we see them grow in confidence from that.’’
ABS data shows there were 49,404 divorces granted nationally in 2018 – nearly half involved children. Of those divorces, the median duration of marriage was 12.3 years.
In family law cases, separating couples must make a genuine effort to resolve parenting and financial issues through dispute resolution before they can apply to the courts for orders.
In addition to co-parent coaching, Centacare offers child inclusive family dispute resolution, where appropriate, to ensure the voice of the child is heard in a safe and supported manner during parenting negotiations.
Ceri said family dispute resolution is an often quicker, more collaborative and more affordable option for resolving parenting disputes and reaching agreements about how property is divided.
A couple, aged in their early 30s, experience a difficult separation. Communication continues to be a significant stumbling block, as it was throughout their relationship.
They attempt Family Dispute Resolution but find it difficult to reach and maintain effective agreements around parenting.
Through the service, they are referred to a Co-Parent Coach who supports them to identify the areas that are contributing to breakdowns in their communication.
They embrace new strategies to better manage their individual emotional reactions.
The parents report improved interactions with the other. Their children comment that they feel more at ease now when both parents are present as there is less tension and more amicable communication between the two.
The parents continue to seek the support of their coach until they are satisfied they have significantly strengthened their co-parenting alliance.
For more information about Centacare’s Family Dispute Resolution service, including Co-Parent Coaching, please contact Centacare on 8215 6700 or Centacare South East on 8303 6630 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Explore our range of Family Dispute Resolution services and locations including Mount Gambier HERE.