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The New Family-- Its Not Nuclear

Coparenting is quickly becoming a staple in the family sphere. Estimates suggest that 50% of all children born will experience living in a single headed or divorced household. Because of this many parents want and need to know how to parent effectively when they are no longer with their child's parent.

One thing that may help parents is understanding that they are becoming the new normal. Thus, you shouldn't feel ashamed. Relationships may not workout; however, a broken relationship doesn't mean you have a broken family or that you are failing as a parent.

Instead think about your strengths. Get clear about what you do well as a parent. Build your family on its strength as opposed to its past missteps. Make a list of the things that you do well and that you enjoy as a parent. Use this list to create values that you can instill in children.

Create your village. Children in two parents households need mentors, extended family, and friends. Coparenting and Blended families need a village too. Look for groups that have mixed generations like religious organizations or social groups (sororities, fraternities, etc.) that may have older peers to help with children. Build community in schools and reach out for support.

Heal from the break up. Breaking up is hard and its even harder when you have to raise children. You have to work on your own mental health. Working with a therapist or reading self help books may allow you to get over the breakup and focus on parenting. Practice effective communication, including setting up best times to talks, using emails, and limiting conversations that are not related to emergencies. Lower expectations of your coparent but increase kindness for yourself. Also, work on mindfulness.

Dr. Shareefah was a single mother throughout her 20s and now has a blended family with her husband. She is available to lead workshops and talks on how to be a mother and reach your career goals.

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