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Co-Parenting to Protect Your Children During Divorce with Julie Ross

If your child comes home complaining about your ex-spouse, it can be incredibly difficult not to react. You want to intervene, to defend your child. And your instinct is to address the issue with the other parent right away. But what if that puts your child in the middle—one of the very things you’ve been trying to avoid? How can you learn to take a step back and decide whether that problem really belongs to you? What is the best way to navigate co-parenting and protect your children during a divorce?

Julie Ross is the Executive Director of Parenting Horizons, a platform created to enrich children’s lives through parent and teacher education. She leads parenting workshops and delivers keynotes across the US, and her work has been featured in Working Mother, Good Housekeeping and Real Simple, among many other national publications. Julie has also appeared on The Daily Show, The Today Show and NPR: Weekend America, and she is the author of Joint Custody with a Jerk: Raising a Child with an Uncooperative Ex.

Today, Julie joins Katherine to explain how divorcing couples can still work as a team when it comes to co-parenting and share the benefit of having regular ‘staff meetings’ around the parenting plan. She describes the conflict of loyalty kids experience when parents disagree, offering insight around how to avoid putting your children in the middle. Julie also discusses how to avoid reacting when your child complains about your ex and addresses the difference between keeping something private versus keeping a secret from your child. Listen in to understand why it’s never a good idea to make your child the messenger between you and your ex and learn how to best protect your child in the divorce process.


What drew Julie to the idea of working with parents

Working as a parenting team despite the end of a marriage

The conflict of loyalty kids experience when parents disagree

Why Julie suggests regular ‘staff meetings’ for co-parents

The value of including kids in individual family meetings

How to keep from putting your kids in the middle

  • Who does this problem belong to?
  • Empower child to resolve conflict

Using the Box Step of Communication to be proactive

How to avoid reacting when your child complains about your ex

  • Zip your lip
  • Script response + don’t vary

Julie’s top advice on protecting your children in divorce

  1. Don’t keep secrets from child
  2. Don’t ask child to keep secrets for you
  3. Don’t make child messenger

The distinction between keeping something private vs. a secret

The danger in parentifying your child


Parenting Horizons

Call (212) 765-2377


The Center for Understanding Conflict

Miller Law Group

Katherine on LinkedIn

The New Yorker’s Guide to Collaborative Divorce by Katherine Miller

Email katherine@westchesterfamilylaw.com

Call (914) 738-7765


Joint Custody with a Jerk: Raising a Child with an Uncooperative Ex-, A Hands-on, Practical Guide to Communicating with a Difficult Ex-Spouse by Julie A. Ross and Judy Corcoran