I started out as what you would describe a “reluctant” teen counselor. I had never had experience as an adult being around teens until my husband, Adam and I were married. To be completely honest, they intimidated me. I was fearful of working with someone who was forced to come to counseling against their will and also feared that they would somehow judge me. My husband, however, was in student ministry and so I jumped into serving alongside him. Then it wasn’t long into my counseling career that a supervisor at that time told me she saw potential in me working with teens and my schedule started overflowing with teens. Over time teenage clients have been one of my favorite populations to work with. Their honesty and eagerness to have someone invest in them is refreshing and it most definitely keeps me on my toes. Now, before we go forward let me say I do not specialize in custody conflicts, in fact if I know that it will be coming up I will attempt to refer to someone who does specialize in custody for the betterment of the client. However, it is not uncommon for me to have a client whose parents have shared custody and continue to have high-conflict co-parenting. One of the most heartbreaking and biggest struggles for me as a counselor is seeing teens who are caught in the middle of their high-conflict divorced parents. Co-parenting is key, but what does that actually look like?
Then the king said, “The one says ‘This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead’; and the other says, ‘No; but your son is dead, and my son is the living one,’ And the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought before the king. And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.” Then the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, “Oh. my lord, give her the child, and by no means put him to death.” But the other said, “He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him.” Then the king answered and said, “Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means put him to death; She is his mother.”
– 1 Kings 3:23-27
In the passage of scripture above we see Solomon having to impart wisdom when two women approach him both claiming to be the mother of an infant. In the previous verses we read that both women had birthed male children within 3 days of each other, while one died, the other survived. Both women were claiming that the surviving child was theirs. Solomon makes his decision by instructing that the child be divided in two. The true mother of the child sacrifices her claim on motherhood in order that the child’s life be spared while the mother with the false claim reveals her jealousy and bitterness. Solomon then gives the infant back to the true mother.
So what can we learn about parenting from this passage?
Sometimes you have to put yourself and or your feelings about your Ex aside for the betterment of your child. This can be difficult for parents when there was so much history and sometimes hurt associated with your Ex. But try and keep in mind that your Ex is also the parent that your child needs. Trying to work together helps your child have a more stable and loving relationship with both parents involved.
For very tangible information I’ve included a resource I often use that has rules for co-parenting from the Cooperative Parenting Institute in Georgia. You can find this information as well as Divorce Rules and other helpful resources at their website Cooperativeparenting.com.