From Conflict to Collaboration: Mastering Co-Parenting and Divorce - SE2EP18 - Tiffany Rochester
In today's episode, we have a remarkable guest joining us, Tiffany Rochester. Tiffany is a Co-Parenting Coach and Clinical Psychologist who is passionately dedicated to nurturing families and providing support to parents, ensuring that children can thrive in warm relationships with both parents, even across two separate homes. With a deep understanding of the emotional and financial toll of adversarial legal systems on families, Tiffany is resolute in her mission to guide separated parents towards collaborative pathways for success in their new lives. She recognizes the importance of raising children as a unified family, free from the constraints of legal processes. Drawing from two decades of experience and expertise in working with complex families, Tiffany combines the science of human behaviour with the power of compassion to offer swift relief and open new opportunities for separated families. In short, If you want to level up your co-parenting skills and raise happy confident kids, Tiffany is here to show you how. https://coparentingcompanion.au/ This Episode is brought to you by Skill Samurai – Coding & STEM Academy www.skillsamurai.com.au
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Speaker 1 (00:08): Welcome to the Parenting in the Digital Age podcast. Many parents are concerned that their child might be falling behind. Others are just looking for ways to help their children thrive, not just in the classroom, but socially and well into their future careers. Each episode we explore the challenges facing parents in the modern world, from behavior, education, and nutrition to device and gaming addiction. We interview a range of leaders in the area of childhood development to help you successfully navigate parenting in the digital age. Here is your host, Jamie Buttigieg.
Hello parents and welcome to Parenting in the Digital Age, the podcast that explores the unique challenges and opportunities of raising children in today's tech-driven world. In each episode, we dive into insightful conversations with experts and thought leaders to provide practical guidance for navigating the digital landscape and life as parents. In today's episode, we have a remarkable guest joining us, Tiffany Rochester. Tiffany is a co-parenting coach. and clinical psychologist who is passionately dedicated to nurturing families and providing support to parents, ensuring that children can thrive in warm relationships with both parents even across two separate homes. Drawing from two decades of experience and expertise in working with complex families, Tiffany combines the science of human behaviour with the power of compassion to offer relief and open new opportunities for separated families. In short, if you want to level up your co-parenting skills and raise happy, confident kids, you Tiffany is here to show you how. Good morning, Tiffany. Welcome to the show. Look, let's just start. Tell us about yourself and your journey and tell us what a co-parenting coach is. Tiffany Rochester: Jamie, thank you so much for having me here. I'm really glad to be here. So my journey is over the past 20 years I've always worked with families who are navigating really tricky circumstances and I started out working with families with repeat juvenile offenders and that taught me a lot about systems and context because what I saw was parents who were working so hard to care for their children and support the growth and development of their children, but in a context where they face judgment at every turn and were dramatically under-resourced. And that set me up for the type of work that I have loved doing ever since then. So I've always worked with families and then around 10 years ago that transitioned into supporting families that were involved with Family Court. those families would come to me through a pathway where a magistrate had determined that there was really nothing left, that they knew what to do with the family. So they thought that'd be a really good time to send in a therapist. And it was topsy-turvy work because by the time they were coming to me, they were being told that they had to be there. They didn't have much choice in who they came to see. Their goals were set by somebody else. There was nothing about that system that was setting those families up for success. And by the time they were there, they had usually already spent somewhere between 60 to $150,000 just in legal fees. And as I looked at it, it was exhausting work because it is work with people who are hurting and exhausted and who again have been judged at every turn and had to justify their parenting and how they move about in the world. And I thought I need to do something. different, these families need help earlier. It is ridiculous that it is not in the same way that we will do antenatal classes to prepare for birth, we might do parenting classes when we have a toddler and we perhaps should continue to do them as our children go through childhood. Co-parents need resources, there's not good modeling around how to separate well and maintain a healthy co-parenting dynamic as you raise. children in one family across two homes and so I founded Co-Parenting Companion and that's where I am today. Jamie: That's amazing. And so tell us a little bit about the day to day. Like what does a co-parenting coach look like? Like if I were in a separated relationship and I wanted to get help or guidance or tools, how do we engage with you? But also what does that look like for me? Tiffany Rochester: Yeah, really good question. And a lot of it would depend on the co-parent that you were stepping into that relationship with. So sometimes there are two people who have realized that their relationship needs to end and stepping through how to tell the children and how to get through that first month and then those first six months and move through their first co-parenting plan. And... In those circumstances, then I can work with both of those people together to look at where are their shared goals, their shared values, their shared vision for the legacy they want to create for their children, the memories they want for their children to have of this really difficult time in their lives. There's some beautiful research that shows that families that share stories and narratives about the times that were hard and how they came together to survive and thrive in that helps build the resilience of children. So being able to... Set that up right from the start to look at in amongst all of the grief, the hurt, the anger and the pain in a relationship that needs to end. How to transition that together into the new dynamic of co-parenting, looking at what boundaries shift, what roles and responsibilities change and what a facilitated relationship looks like. And for those parents, it can often be so difficult. My experience is they are desperately wanting to do the right thing by their children. But they might not know developmentally what that is. We're not supposed to all be experts in childhood development and milestones. Knowing what the share of time should be for a particular child, a particular stage, with a particular personality is all really, really tricky. So having a neutral person who does have expertise in child development and raising thriving, healthy children can be so useful to know that you're making decisions that truly are in the best interest of the children. even while there's pain on the heart. The other area where co-parenting coach can be really useful is if you are very, very keen to have a facilitative, low conflict, co-parenting relationship that protects the outcomes for your children and your co-parent is not necessarily on the same page. Because in that dynamic, you still have that co-parent. They are still... responsible often for 50% of the DNA of your children and you're in a lifelong connection with them because as we know parenting doesn't stop when the children turn 18 and there are so many so many transitions and events to navigate together. In that situation we can look at how do you co-parent well with the co-parent you have rather than the one that you wish you did. How to care for your own emotional experiences and the painful thoughts and feelings that are triggered in those interactions. How to bring your best self to that communication to de-escalate situations, help hostilities stay low, help your co-parent come on board with yeses when they're in the best interests of the children. So regardless of the co-parent you have, there is so much that is available to take the stress and pressure off stepping through that space. Jamie: Yeah, that's powerful. And it's so much more than just a referee. Like there are so many tools that we don't have as humans to navigate those complex relationships, particularly when it's dissolving and trying to keep the kids front and center. I myself went through a similar thing some I'm going to say about 13 years ago, if my memory serves me correctly. And I think we've done a pretty good job. My co-parent and I to raise kids. And I'm not saying there haven't been challenges, but in my experience, the three areas that that we face challenging was communication. The second was consistency between homes, so in rules and values. And the third one was navigating major decisions. So which school should this child go to, or whatever it is, what therapist should this child go to, those sorts of things. They're always... the most challenging times in that co-parenting relationship. So from your point of view, apart from those or including those, what are the most common challenges you see with parents navigating co-parenting? Tiffany Rochester: Look, you absolutely tapped on the three of them and chief among them is the communication skills. And we know that the very most protective thing that we can do for children in intact families and in separated families is shield them from that. conflicts. So looking at how to communicate well together, even when matters are contentious is so important. And I think if we look at all the narratives of every movie, every sitcom, every drama ever made, I sit there, I go, my gosh, all of this could have been solved if these people just had some communication skills. So this issue is only unique to co-parents. And essentially, the point you raised about the big decisions, I think, is also is such a stressful moment. And often what I see is parents agonizing over something that isn't as big a deal as their heart and their mind worries about. And I think schools is such a really good example of that, or the other example you gave, choosing a therapist, because generally there are lots and lots of great schools and few that are dreadful. And through... parents being able to really listen to the shared values in that space and the outcomes that they're wanting for their children, they'll be able to find the common ground to be able to look at the best geographical location, private versus public, the right kind of set up for the child that they have. I do highly recommend school tours. I'm not saying all schools are right for all children, but there are ways of finding that common ground. through tuning in and listening to each other to be able to take the heat out of those major decisions. Jamie: Yeah, so here's an interesting one. So what are some of the key indicators that a child might be adjusting well to co-parenting or some signs that they may be struggling? Like, you know, if I was someone that was new to co-parenting, a fairly recent separation, what should I be looking for? What are those signs to see that my kids, I know it's a two-part question, but maybe start with some of the negative signs that maybe they're not coping well. What are some of those things I should be looking for? Tiffany Rochester: That is such an excellent question. So the first thing that I would say is that in the first two years after separation, everything goes a little bit haywire for the whole family system. So parenting is not at its best because parents are trying to figure out how to separate across two homes, mend their hearts, care for their children, learn a whole new dance interaction. So they're not at their parenting best and children are... going through a major transition that developmentally, they're not ready for until they may be in their 20s. So the first thing that I would say is that a lot of the behaviors that you might see in those first couple of years are probably, excuse me, probably normal. And so if your children are angry, screaming, crying, Those aren't signs that they're not okay, they're signs that they are processing through what is happening for them and the only job that a parent needs to be concerned with at that moment is being to borrow from so-called security that big enough, strong enough, wise enough, kind enough presence to be the container for those feelings to know that they don't have to fix them or solve them, they don't have to make those feelings go away, they just have to be able to sit there with their child and go, I get that this sucks, I get that this is awful. I think sometimes parents can, we don't want our children to hurt, right? I've got a couple of kids. There's nothing that hurts my heart more than seeing my children in pain. And it's so important as parents that we don't try and rescue them and jolly them out of it. So sometimes I'll hear parents say things like, do you know, but it's going to be fine because you get two lots of presents and you get Jamie: Okay. Tiffany Rochester: two lots of holidays and we don't have to make it be okay. It will be okay, it will be. it will be okay, but we don't need to polish it for them. It's sufficient to just sit there and be the space that says, I know my darling, this isn't what you chose, and I know that you're hurting, and I know that it's hard. So in terms of, the first thing I say is, your children are probably fine, and in fact, 79% of kids go on to be quite fine and grow up indistinguishable from children who grow up in healthy intact families. signs that your child might be heading towards that other bucket and in there we'll see problems with academic development, social connections, emotional coping. The types of things that we will often see is withdrawal. So it can be very destabilising for a child and this is where the shielding them from conflict is so important, where they see the conflict between two parents. It disrupts their trust in adults and it disrupts their capacity to seek help from grownups. So we might see withdrawal more going to their room or listening to music. I mean music is great as part of a strategy but we also want to see them still going out with their friends or asking for play dates when they're younger. So the social withdrawal and no longer seeking help from others would be a sign that things aren't okay for them. If there is a drop in their academic performance that would be something that I'd be you know just wanting to be curious about and I think kind of with two hands one is to be having conversations with the teacher to just kind of track how the kid is doing but the other is to remember that a semester in the life of a childhood education, unless we're looking at year 12, is probably not that big a deal. And so you can track it over time and allow them a chance to grieve, prioritize their emotional care and wellbeing whilst they make their way through this pathway. Acting out behaviors is the other thing that you are likely to see. So an increase in aggression that is particularly more likely for boys in the first two years. What we often see, in fact, what Richard shows us is that, When we have children who become more withdrawn and show internalised behaviours, so if we see self-harm emerging, which obviously would be a key risk issue, those children are often being exposed to covert conflict between the parents. So that might be where parents are not able to shield the children from their own resentment, their own grief, if the child has been made to be the messenger between two homes, if the child is... feeling responsible for the wellbeing of one or both parents. So that's where we'll see those internalising behaviours. And if we're seeing externalising behaviours, the shouting, acting out, bullying, aggression, then those children are usually being exposed to more overt hostilities. They're the ones that are more likely to hear parents actively speaking ill of their co-parent or shouting and speaking derogatory rays to them and about them. And if not their co-parent, the other system, part of the system that we really need to be paying attention to is what the friends and family around the parents are doing. Because often the poor parents who already have so much that they are dealing with in trying to care for their children and connect with each other, often have insanely well-meaning friends and family who do things that are... inadvertently very unhelpful and that may include speaking ill of the co-parent or not facilitating being supportive of the child's right to a relationship with the other side of the family. Jamie: Yeah, that's an interesting point you make there is that we always started out with this intention to never to throw each other under the bus, at least not with our kids around. And that was partly because we started with the intent of let's raise good humans. Tiffany Rochester: Mmm. Jamie: We don't have to let this moment or this failure, if you want to call it a failure, define our kids or leave such a terrible mark on our kids. And kids are looking, kids are watching. I don't care what age they are, but they're modeling our behavior. And you have to ask yourself the question, do you want kids that undermine other people, act unethically or throw people under the bus in the workplace? That's not the behavior I want my kids to develop into. The other side of this, like when you look at some of those behaviors that you were just speaking about, that does have to drive some guilt. Like as parents, and I know I certainly felt guilt in those early stages. You know, that can manifest in other ways, like, you know, maybe friend parenting or maybe like, I don't know. You know this stuff better than I do. Like I say, I see some train wrecks out there where and the main example that I see is where a parent is guilty, obviously carrying guilt, whether they choose to admit that or not. And then literally having zero discipline and boundaries in the house. Right now, is that something you see? Is that something that is it a common mistake or a trap that if I'm feeling guilt, I kind of and more likely to be leaning in on my kids and let them get away with things that perhaps I might not have otherwise let them do before. Tiffany Rochester: That's a really interesting line to draw and you could be right in some circumstances. And I think you may see both. You would definitely see both, but whether or not it's a relationship between the two, maybe for some people. There's kind of several points in there that I'd really love to catch and speak to. In terms of the guilt, I think there's a difference between guilt and shame and shame. Shame. causes us to draw away and to hide. We are not good with coping with shame. And so I think we're far more likely to see problematic behaviors in parenting emerge if a parent is experiencing shame over what has happened. Guilt tends to be more of a motivator. We want to make things better when there's guilt, but we might not know the most effective ways to make things better. And so yes, you may see somebody wanting to make things better by being the Disneyland parent or by being the parent who has relaxed boundaries. People often have a kind of a faulty rule that holding a boundary somehow is unkind and yet our children thrive most when we have firm boundaries held with kindness and love. That's what children need for security. On the guilt point, you raised a really interesting word and you talked about the word failure, you know, that there was a failure. And I conceptualize it so differently because you all had tied that together with what you're modeling for the children. And it is, you know, when the divorce and separation rates are as high as they are, we know that... sometimes relationships need to end. The versions of ourselves that choose our partners don't always know what's coming. I've seen so many relationships that have ended because grenades were thrown at them that they just were not resourced to be able to get through as a team or there was a slow trickle down in a communication breakdown that actually started back in the learnings that they had when they were children growing up. Relationships end for really good reasons and I don't think, I don't think that's a failure. I think it takes incredible courage to step away from unhealthy relationship and to choose, raising children across two homes is leveling up your co-parenting game. It's not an easy decision. On any level it takes incredible courage and then in terms of the modeling for the children staying in an unhealthy dynamic, staying in a toxic dynamic that has no hope of recovery, that is risky for children and it's risky not just in terms of what the children are exposed to in that moment but also in terms of what you're modeling about what romantic attachments look like, about what you might want your own children to have as they move into their adult lives. So then coming back to when the guilt shows up, I think where we really have to care for parents in that early stage of separation is helping them create space to actually acknowledge those feelings, to not be suppressing them in the hope to run away and move on and make everything happy and healthy. Again, our emotions show up for such healthy, good reasons. They give us such useful information. And unfortunately in our society there's not a lot taught around how to make room for your emotions. Distress tolerance isn't high. We have to care for our hearts and learn how to have our painful emotions in order that we are not driven by them, in order that we can find our wiser self to make decisions for our behaviours around our children that line up with our values and aren't determined by the feelings that are running around in our bodies. Jamie: Yeah, yeah. Okay, so this might be an interesting segue. You talked about new relationships and those sorts of things. How can somebody introduce a new partner into this dynamic of co-parenting? So whether it's a year after or 10 years after, it's always an interesting, or sometimes a challenging conversation to have with your kids. This is mommy's new friend or daddy's new friend. What advice do you have for people who are facing those challenges? Tiffany Rochester: Yes, wow, so that is such a big, big question. So bringing in a new person is definitely a big deal. And what I would say to all parents navigating this part of their journey is that the new relationships stepping in may be your greatest ally in the system. It might be the greatest opportunity to bring even more stability, that there's no limit to how many. adults can love a child and how well a child can thrive in an ever-expanding family. What I would say is, with respect for your co-parent in honouring the role that they have in the life of your child, if your relationship is at a point where it is serious and you can see this going forward for a long time and you're ready to introduce the children, tell your co-parent first, let them know that it's coming. And there's many reasons for that. And one is because even a healthy co-parenting dynamic can often be destabilized by a new person coming into the mix. It can raise lots of feelings about what if this, what if this person is liked more than me? What if I'm replaced? That won't happen. Like we know, you know, in our most intelligent cells, that won't happen, but those fears, they arise and they start driving behavior. So... Letting your co-parent know first gives them time to handle those emotions on their own and seek resourcing that they may need to deal with that so that they are not hit with all of those emotions because their child tells them. You don't want them having that moment with the child. The other thing that it allows is that then when the children come to talk to the other parent about this new person... that the parent is in a space where they're able to be supportive, able to be facilitated, able to say like yeah I'm so excited I heard that there was this person in the mix and like I'm really thrilled that you get to meet them and so the parent is then in a space where they've been able to handle their feelings, deal with their complicating stuff that might come up for them in order they can then make it safe for their child to be able to form a new connection with this person. The other thing that I would say is that it is so important for the person coming into the dynamic and the other parent to meet each other. And to be able to sit down and have a neutral coffee or a neutral Zoom, to just get a sense of who each other is. We're a lot less scary face to face, and we are really good at creating demons and monsters. And when we sit down face to face, like, oh, no, you seem like a really reasonable person. In other circumstances, we might have been friends. And that can just set so many tensions aside and make it a much, much smoother path. Jamie: It's interesting and you said something there about kind of like edifying that other person or saying to your child, hey, this is exciting, you know, that dad's got a new friend or whatever that is. And not making it a destructive time because not only does that impact on your co-parent's new relationship, but it impacts on, you know, just messes up the kid is probably the wrong word for this conversation. But it does have an impact, you know, because if I'm a kid, I have to go to dad's house now and dad's got a new friend but mom doesn't like this new friend. Tiffany Rochester: Mm-hmm. Jamie: or has made that clear, there's kids would experience, I'm gonna use the word guilt and that may not be the right word, but like guilt in going to daddy's and associating with this new friend. So I'm pushing this new partner away as a child, but not Tiffany Rochester: Mm-hmm. Jamie: quite understanding the whole complicated thing. So I think it is important for those new partners to speak well, not just of their co-parent, but speak well of this new partner. Anyway, I just thought that was a fascinating way, like I'd never thought of it in that context. Tiffany Rochester: You're absolutely right though, children feel a loyalty bind and that can happen no matter how hard the parents are working. So constantly giving that message that it is okay to love us both, it's okay to want to go to dad and miss mum or vice versa, this is healthy and normal. And within that the other part that I would say is if you're the new person coming into this dynamic, particularly by the time that you're looking at perhaps cohabiting together. Get yourself along to a blended family parenting course. There's plenty of inexpensive ones that run through places like Relationships Australia. Step parenting is an incredibly important role and knowing how to take on the step parent role rather than a pseudo parent role is incredibly important for stabilizing the whole dynamic. Jamie: This like I'm loving this conversation. Each of these questions could be a podcast in its own right. So like I appreciate you, you know, summarizing and giving us some valuable information here, we might even have to have a follow up podcast because I've got I've got a list of questions that we are not even going to touch on today. But here's an interesting one. And something I guess I struggle with a little bit is how can parents maintain consistency in rules and expectations across two separate homes? What tips do you have there? You know, particularly, I mean, even though some parents may be, you know, quite well, good, you know, they might be good at communicating. They've still got two different standards. Tiffany Rochester: Mm-hmm. Jamie: How do we navigate that? Tiffany Rochester: So the first thing that I would say is care less. Care less about what is happening in the other home. And the reason that I would say that is again when we look at what is protected for children, we know that one, authoritative nurturing relationship with those kind boundaries held with love. is enough to protect the outcomes of children and children learn in their context so they can they can learn that you know I always get ice cream when I go to see my grandparents on this side and I always get to jump on the couch when I go and see grandparents over there but at mum's house at dad's house you know we stay at the table until the meal is done there is no ice cream and we definitely don't jump on the furniture children can learn different. It is okay if things are different. Then the next part that I would put in is, it's a great idea to let your co-parent know what your boundaries are, to let them know what kind of sleep routines you're working towards, what kind of screen boundaries you're holding, the reasons why you're choosing those. But I would encourage parents to do it from the position of, I'm just letting you know. this is what works well in our home, this is just for your information. And leave it for the other parent to think about, to digest and to pick it up and run with it if they choose. If instead we go from the position of, I'm doing this and you need to do it too, we're hitting the rage against the machine button. know they uh I'm mindful of my language but the you know if you I won't do what you tell me and so we really don't want to hit that button so letting the other parent know this is what I'm doing take it or leave it gives the other parent that chance to just reflect on it and perhaps even come back and say to you I'm really struggling in this area how do you manage that how do you resolve this problem so So by taking the pressure off, you invite more opportunities for that consistency to emerge. Jamie: I guess that the big sub theme under all this is that we have to change our own mindset and our own way, like in the way that we look at situations, relationships and those personal interactions. Okay, let's see. What's an interesting question that I have here. Okay, so how can co-parents effectively handle disagreements about major life decisions? We talked a little bit about major life decisions earlier. I know each question can be a podcast Tiffany Rochester: Heheheheheheh Jamie: here. Give us a tip or two about, you know, let's say, well, maybe you give us an example of what you consider to be a major life decision that, you know, co-parents may be facing and how they might tip or two on how they might handle that disagreement. Tiffany Rochester: I'm just thinking about all the ones that come up. I mean you raised earlier around choosing a therapist and I would say that's not a lie a major decision. Jamie: But sometimes the parents, they are like choosing a school. Like sometimes the parents, like it's the biggest decision in their life Tiffany Rochester: Yes. Jamie: all year. And that's a perception thing. Like I get that. And really, you know what? Doesn't matter if it's that school, this school, they're both going to be great schools. There are caring educators in all of us in the Australian school system. Probably doesn't matter. It more comes down to, you know, am I really being stubborn about location or is this going to be convenient for me to get to and from work and drop off kids and those sorts of things? Maybe it's more situational. But, you know, to us, some of these things seem like big life decisions. Tiffany Rochester: And that is the exact point that I think is so important is that what feels enormous to you in that moment may not have all of the repercussions that you imagine that it's going to have. So I would say before approaching that conversation, you really want to be able to be clear in your head about. why is this important? What is it that I'm fighting for? And if it is crucial, if it is something that's really important to fight for, then by all means step forward and hold that position using excellent communication tools about your values in that space, listen to the other person, not expressing judgment and to be able to really share these are the reasons I think this could be a good idea. but you don't wanna do that for anything else, for all of the other stuff that's minor. So I would suggest chatting to a co-parenting coach, or if you are involved with, have a therapist supporting you and resourcing you, having a chat with them. If your child does have a therapist, have a chat with them. Talk with your parent network, find out in your intact families, how are they navigating this? Or is this an issue that is just unique because you were raising kids across two homes, or is this... the kind of issue that every parent is facing and how are other parents handling that situation? People have gone ahead of you who perhaps can give you that perspective to go, you know, I've got a child who is in upper school at the moment and so we've had to do a lot of work around with him at looking at what are the alternative pathways that are going to be available to you through ATAR because there's still so much messaging around um, you know, it's now or never and you have to do this right now and then I think it really is to step back into the eyes of the child and really looking at Can I see? What our child needs separate from what I need and so if we're looking at that school decision Like if parents are living geographically reasonably far apart from each other, the answer might not be for the school to be halfway so that each parent gets to do the same amount of travel. That might seem very fair at the parent level, but it means you're ruling out for the child the possibility that sometimes they can walk to school and sometimes they can have their network living close to them. And it may be hard for the parent that lives further away to know that network isn't near them. But it has to be near one of them, if that's what you're looking for. So recognizing that the benefit that is for your child, regardless of which home that is near. I'm thinking about the number of situations that come up. And I think that those big decisions are so different according to the dynamics of each family. One that I would say that does come up, actually, is around... around concerns about assessment, if a child is having academic difficulties, if a child may be neurodivergent or have some other complexity going on. And we can see parents kind of really wrestling with whether or not it's the right time to go forward with an assessment or an intervention. And there, my guidance to parents would be early intervention is key always. It is. it is always key. And I would far prefer for parents to rock up for a therapy service or an intervention service and have a space where the person can say, look, you're being a bit neurotic and your kid is fine, rather than wait and see and leave a child unsupported and unresourced. And for the most part, any Jamie: Bark! Tiffany Rochester: diagnosis you might be looking at, whether it's... you know, a learning difficulty, a neurodivergence, a gender or sexuality issue. All of those are not going to be long term problems for your child. Unless they're not identified, not accommodated, not supported. And the professionals that you involve in the life of your children adhere to code of ethics, have done a massive amount of training, do not care to be brought into Triangulated conflict between co-parents. So it really doesn't matter who you choose in terms of which co-parent chooses them, so long as they're the person with the expertise for the answers that you're looking for, for the child that you have in front of you. Jamie: It's a wonderful view and tremendous, tremendous advice. All right, there's one more. We've got to wrap this up soon. And I do respect your time and your generosity on today's show because I've certainly got a tremendous amount. And I know our listeners will too. But what advice do you have for co-parents who are dealing with, say, a difficult or uncooperative ex-spouse? So maybe in terms of, let's say, I think I'm the proactive positive one and I want to get a co-parenting coach, but my... Co-parent doesn't want a co-parenting coach, thinks that we don't need any support or help and doesn't want to kind of communicate with this third party. What advice would you have for that sort of situation? Tiffany Rochester: So I would say go it alone. There is, don't wait to empower yourself in that co-parenting dynamic for a tricky co-parent to come on board. There is so much that you can do to take care of you and to improve that co-parenting dynamic by working smarter, but never harder. And so don't wait. And in fact, if you've got a tricky co-parent who is not interested in coming along with you, all the more reason not to wait because you have a harder job ahead of you. So my goodness me get some fuel in your tank and I think it's so important to look at co-parenting from the inside out that this isn't about the other person, it isn't about whether they're right or wrong, whether they're good or bad, people aren't good or bad, they're just you know products of the context. It's about What's happening in you? How do you care for yourself in the moments that are tricky? How do you honor all of the parts of your body that are showing up so that you can co-parent with ease and thrive in the rest of your life? Enjoy your parenting, enjoy taking your kids on holidays rather than spending money on court fees. Enjoy new career opportunities open up. Enjoy that new relationship if you choose to re-enter dating. There is so. much to be gained in this thriving new life after you've left a relationship that wasn't serving the needs of the two of you. Jamie: That's tremendous, tremendous advice. One fun question we like to ask all of our guests before we wind up each episode is if we had a time machine and Tiffany could go back to your younger self, maybe 10 or 12 years old, what's one piece of advice that you would give the young Tiffany? Tiffany Rochester: I think it is the most beautiful question. And, you know, 10 to 12 year old Tiffany was in a small country town, having moved from the city. She was fairly lost and uncertain in the social world. And if I could go back to her. I would wrap her up in a big warm hug and say, my darling girl, you're gonna be just fine. I'm gonna take such good care of us. You have no idea how great it's gonna be. Trust me, we've got this. Jamie: Wonderful advice. I'm gonna write a book just with all these pieces of advice one day. Tiffany, co-parenting coach, thank you so much for your time and generosity today. How can people reach out or connect with you or follow your socials? Give us some of that info. Tiffany Rochester: My website is co-parentingcompanion.au and you can find me on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. It's just at co-parenting companion and by all means I'd love to see you. Hit me up with a DM, send me an email, let me know what resourcing and supports you're needing. This is everything I live and breathe so I want to serve and resource this community really well. Jamie: And that truly comes across. Thank you so much for a wonderful chat today. It's what I've been looking forward to for some time and we weren't disappointed. Tiffany, thank you for your time and hope we cross paths again soon. Tiffany Rochester: Thanks so much, Jamie, I really appreciate it.
If you enjoyed the show, please connect with Jamie on LinkedIn or Instagram. You'll find links in the podcast description. Parenting in the Digital Age is sponsored by Skill Samurai Coding and STEM Academy for Kids. Skill Samurai offers afterschool coding classes and holiday programs to help kids thrive academically and socially while preparing them for the careers of the future. Visit www.skillsamurai.com.au. This episode is sponsored by Skill Samurai - Coding & STEM Academywww.skillsamurai.com.au
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