Be Aware: 10 Economic and Financial Forces that Affect Co-Parenting

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Before you read on, grab a pen and write down as many economic and financial forces as you can that affect the ability to co-parent effectively.

How many did you identify?

If you’re like me, it would have been easier to identify the non-economic and financial forces that affect co-parenting.

That’s because when it comes to working with dads and moms, we focus on the dynamics between parents rather than the broader forces that act upon parents—forces to which we and they are oblivious.

That’s why I was glad to learn about an excellent brief from the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts entitled, “Ask the Experts: Ten Economic and Financial Forces Affecting Co-Parenting.” To my point above, the authors of the brief start it this way:

“As professionals interacting with families, we understand the obligation to address emotions, needs, and interests with parents who are struggling with co-parenting decisions. It is a relatively new idea to consider how money and financial factors affect conflict between co-parents. Frequently, both the professionals and the parents are unprepared to approach problem-solving from this prospective. Professionals may overlook financial factors in attempting to help parents confront their disagreements. There are some basic points related to money that practitioners should keep in mind when trying to help co-parents resolve conflict and disagreements.”

Here are the 10 forces, taken verbatim from the brief. To learn more about each one, read the brief.

  1. Talking about money is really difficult.
  2. Decisions made by parents concerning their children are influenced by a parent’s perception of risks and benefits for their children.
  3. As the difference between the wealthiest and the least wealthy grows, many parents perceive that their children are in a competition where the stakes are high.
  4. In response to this perceived competition, parents have shifted to more intensive parenting styles.
  5. This growing perception of competition has occurred concurrently with increases in spending on education and enrichment activities.
  6. Increased child-focused spending has corresponded with the acceptance of household debt.
  7. Changes in the economy and significant economic events, like the Great Recession, have affected the generations of parents raising children differently.
  8. Never-married parents may face new challenges as they choose not to combine their household economies.
  9. Economic factors contribute to conflict between parents, as well as family stress, both of which negatively affect child adjustment and development.
  10. Parents frequently fail to recognize that they are motivated by economic and financial factors and lack the skills and information to overcome the consequences.

I encourage you to share the brief with your colleagues who work with parents. I also encourage you to raise your awareness of the co-parenting resources of National Fatherhood Initiative® (NFI), such as our Co-Parenting Bundle, that can help you help dads and moms to co-parent effectively.

How much did you know about the economic and financial forces that affect co-parenting?

How much do you know about the co-parenting resources of NFI?

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