Cooperative Co-Parenting for Secure Kids: The Attachment Theory Guide to Raising Kids in Two Homes

Aurisha Smolarski, LMFT

Publisher: New Harbinger Publications Pages: 192 Price: (paperback) $18.95 ISBN: 9781648481840 Reviewed: January, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

Cooperative Co-Parenting for Secure Kids is a guidebook for divorced or separated parents seeking to raise well-adjusted children. Rooting her approach in Attachment Theory, author Aurisha Smolarski uses her 20-plus years of experience in the field of marriage and family therapy to offer this straightforward how-to manual on sharing “responsibility for care taking [sic], decision-making, guidance, and being present for the emotional and physical needs of your child.”

Smolarski explains basic Attachment Theory, which posits that young children require healthy relationships with their caregivers to thrive emotionally. It discusses the various ways in which a child can develop insecure attachment when caregivers are not consistently available and sensitive to the need for emotional connection.

Smolarski then utilizes the concept of “emotional cables” to explore how parents’ own insecure attachment style (originating in childhood) can elicit emotional reactivity in their ex-partners and negatively impact the ability to co-parent. She posits that control-seeking behavior, passive aggressiveness, and blame can all stem from unprocessed sadness and fear. Smolarski then explores how to transform those difficult emotions into self-awareness and clear communication practices.

The author offers concrete, structural shifts one can make to the co-parenting arrangement and step-by-step ways to talk with the other co-parent about challenging issues. She gives examples of children’s maladaptive behavior that stems from dysfunctional co-parenting and then discusses how to foster secure attachment and emotional resilience to counteract those behaviors.

This book is an excellent addition to the literature of marriage and family therapy. Although there are many parenting books available, few, if any, explicitly focus on divorced co-parenting strategies through the valuable lens of Attachment Theory. Absent of psychological jargon, the author’s writing style is clear and easy to understand for absolute beginners to the concept of Attachment Theory and for co-parents with no prior experience in building communication skills.

This guide is highly recommended for parents struggling to successfully collaborate in the face of separation or divorce.

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