Co-Parenting

In a recent seminar I attended, Dr. Michael Saini, an associate professor of the University of Toronto, emphasized the growing importance of the construct of co-parenting to Family Law in both research and clinical applications. He points out that in 2019 there were 323 articles on this topic published in peer-reviewed journals. The two most prominent journals on this topic are the Journal of Family Psychology, 53 articles in 2019, and the Journal of Child and Family Studies, 44 articles in 2019. Dr. Saini defines co-parenting as “a construct decoupled from gender role and family structure referring to negotiated activities and relational aspects of two care-givers working together to raise a child”. (Saini et al 2019,) the Journal of Child and Family Studies, page 392. Thus, co-parenting occurs in a variety of social relationships unbound by, but including traditional relationships.

The quality of co-parenting affects the well-being of the child in his/her adaptation to changing parental relationships. Positive co-parenting reduces conflict, and increases the likelihood of father engagement. It is also essential for improving parent-child relationships and therefore, the future adjustment of children. There are a variety of co-parenting interventions available including one that is web- based (see Doss et al 2019, Journal of Family Psychology, in press).

Finally, Dr. Saini points out that improving co-parenting is important because it is modifiable, valuable to both mother and father, non-controversial, and related to positive parent relationships and child present and future adaptations.

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