Several research studies over the last 30 years have uncovered 5 primary styles of co-parenting after divorce. The first 3 are considered to be more or less functional, all things considered.
The first 3 are considered to be more or less functional, all things considered.
2. Ozzie Minus Harriet (or “Mummy and Daddy aren’t really divorced…They just live in different places.)
The Ozzie minus Harriet co-parenting pattern is pretty confusing. This couple lovingly and flawlessly perform their parental duties. But they do not merely “get along.” They maintain a robust “BFF” status and typically never remarry. Their reason for divorcing bewilders even their all-purpose therapist.
3. Cooperative Co-Parents (or “Mummy and Daddy make it work for us”)
Easier to understand than “Ozzie minus Harriet,” ‘Cooperative Co-Parents are typically a couple which has either remarried or re-partnered. They describe their relationship with their “ex” as cooperative and respectful, but not particularly close. This is a hard-won functional style characterized by mutual effort, give and take, above average communication, and lots of patience.
4. Pot-Shot Parents (or “Mom and Dad don’t like each other sometimes”)
The fighting continues, and the family morale doesn’t improve. Resentment and irritation flare up on a regular basis. Sometimes angry exchanges as well. But there is an awareness that containing the squabbling would be preferable. Triangulation with the children happens, but not often. These parents know better. But they are too self-absorbed to change.
Daniel is a Marriage and Family Therapist. He currently sees couples at Couples Therapy Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts, three seasons in Cummington (at the foothills of the Berkshires...) and in Miami during joint retreats with his wife, Dr. Kathy McMahon. He uses EFT, Gottman Method, Solution-focused and the Developmental Model in his approaches.
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