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Ultimate Guide to Co-Parenting

Happy Divorce

Ultimate Guide to a Happy Divorce

Dealing With a Narcissist

Ultimate Guide to Co-Parenting with a Narcissist

About Two Healthy Homes

Two Healthy Homes is the life’s work of Dr. Erica Ellis, a licensed child psychologist and co-parenting expert. Over the past 30 years, Dr. Ellis has helped thousands of families navigate the divorce and co-parenting process in a way that protects the long-term well-being of the entire family. 

CPI’s mission is to empower and support parents with all the tools, knowledge, and skills to avoid unnecessary emotional damage and create a healthy, thriving future for themselves and their children.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Co-parenting is defined as two parents who no longer live together working collaboratively to raise their children. While it can take many forms, with many different parenting plans, the goal is to create a relationship where both parents are playing an active role in all aspects of their children’s lives. It works best when decisions are made based upon the best interest of the children. 

It is absolutely possible, but not easy, to have a happy divorce. While painful and incredibly challenging, the divorce presents an opportunity to reconfigure your family in a way that has the potential for greater happiness for you, your children, and your ex. In order to achieve that goal, you must address the three primary relationships in your life to get you to that better place: with yourself, with your ex, and with your children. 

A person with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) has a long-standing pattern of thinking and behavior that negatively impacts all aspects of their functioning. It is marked by a lack of empathy, a grandiose sense of self, a need for constant attention, a sense of entitlement, and an inability to modulate their mood or behavior. 

The combination of emotional and behavioral instability results in the narcissist being a very challenging co-parenting partner. They lack the ability to do many of the things necessary to make co-parenting work, including respectful communication, compromising to resolve differences, putting the children’s needs first, and keeping emotions in check to avoid conflict. Parallel parenting is often the most effective means of raising children in this situation. In this type of parenting arrangement, the amount of interaction between the two high-conflict parents is minimized as much as possible. Each parent has their own areas of responsibility so they minimize the need for interaction and collaboration. Face to face communication is avoided. 

Even with parallel parenting in place, there remains the potential for both you and your children to experience further emotional damage at the hands of the narcissist. To minimize the chances of this happening:
**expect challenges and approach them calmly and rationally
**fully embrace the reality that you have no power to change your ex
**avoid emotional arguments whenever possible
**establish firm boundaries, especially about communication
**create a detailed parenting plan that you always follow
The goal of co-parenting counseling is to teach you and your ex the skills and strategies necessary to be the best possible parents for your children. This is accomplished through:
**learning effective ways to communicate
**developing healthy ways to resolve conflict
**committing to rising about your issues/emotions for the sake of your children
**creating a co-parenting plan based upon your children’s unique needs and ages
It differs from marital therapy in that it is focused on the present and the future, not on re-hashing the past. The process is skill-based and strategic, equipping you with the tools to work together on your children’s behalf