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Coparenting is likened to chess!

Updated: Jan 7, 2023












There is a king and a queen that represent separated parents with pawns that represent the children. The ‘pawns’ can be sacrificed for the king and queen to yield power over each other.


A battle ensues to determine a winner!


The king takes one step at a time, whilst the queen makes multiple steps in multiple directions to gain an advantage and crush anyone that gets in her way. The queen is the most powerful player on the board.


There are rooks who represent the ‘lawyers’ that wield the might of the family law. The Knights are the counsellors or psychologists who enable special techniques to get around obstacles. The bishops represent spiritual leaders who can sweep in and offer strength through faith.


Sometimes the queen of the castle acts as the ‘gatekeeper’ of the pawns declaring ‘I will not let you see MY pawns’ keeping them hidden out of view.


The King then ‘retaliates’ shouting from beyond the fortified castle walls demanding ‘Release the pawns, it is my right to see them. I’ll spend all the money on rooks (lawyers) and you will get nothing’


They both try to out manoeuvre each other which is financially and emotionally exhausting. It keeps them both on hyperalert anticipating the next attack which prolongs the battle for months and possibly years.


The pawns (kids) sit huddled together in the fortress, trembling and shaking as they hear the raised voices making demands and spitting poison at each other. All they want is the war to be over so that the king and queen stop fighting!


The aim of chess is to claim a winner, to shout check mate, victory is mine.


There may be times throughout the game that the king is cornered and ‘check’ is declared for the king to call on his rooks (lawyers) to evade the loss of the game. He may call on his bishops (spiritual leaders) to offer solace to the king to get through the troubles ahead or seek strategies from the knights (psychologists) to offer him hope.


But coparenting is not a game, I hear you say!


Precisely my point.


Don’t we want our children to be the winners in coparenting arrangements?


Winners in life, to thrive in two loving homes. To have meaningful relationships with both of their parents and extended families.


Coparenting shouldn’t be a battle to be a winner between parents creating chaos, conflict and anxiety for everyone involved. The collatoral damage is endless, not only the parents, grandparents, but most importantly the children. The battle can inflict scars that never fully heal, creating wounded souls surviving life.


Coparenting should be two separated parents, who are no longer partners being united to put the needs of the children above their own.


Your ex is going to be in your life for as long as you have children, so it is about switching from an ongoing battle to an ongoing shared parenting relationship where your children are your ‘business’ and your ex is your business partner. It is a transactional relationship without emotion, and the success of your business of the children…….is measured on your children’s happiness.


Children rely on their parents to be the problem solvers when the family is in crisis, helping the family transition and adjust to the new family structure.


You are the most important people in your children’s lives, so be their king and queen who they admire to make them feel safe and secure.


If you need help to do this, enrol in a parenting after separation course or have a Divorce Coach support you and keep you future focused.

Author – Cheryl Duffy – Divorce Coach, Mediator & Author

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