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Another Reason Why Co-Parenting Is Important

Divorce with children involved is complicated. As difficult as it can be, it's an important time for parents to continue to be actively involved in their children's lives. Often, one parent will disengage from the children, and the effects can be devastating.

According to an article in Psychology Today, studies show that parents who are engaged in their children's lives decrease the possibility of childhood use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Following a divorce, engaged parenting and positive co-parenting can prevent addiction for children.

Substance Use

The use of alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes can begin when a child is younger than 12, but more frequently it starts when they are in the adolescent years. Studies of adolescent substance use show the highest number abuse alcohol, followed by marijuana, and then cigarettes. Prescription drugs and illicit drugs show a lower rate of use in adolescents.

This study showed that by the 12th grade, at last half of the teenagers used some type of illicit drug at least once. The most significant deterrent to stop adolescents from developing an addiction is the parent's involvement in their lives. Teens with parents who monitor their activity and keep open lines of communication have lower rates of addiction. When parents disengage from their children following a divorce, children may start using drugs and alcohol to cope with the stress and pain in their lives.


When divorce is imminent, it is imperative that parents stay connected with their children. Co-parenting may be difficult due to a variety of factors, such as finances and the need to work more or the distance between residences. Having a positive co-parenting plan will help improve parent/child engagement and build a secure setting for the children to manage their way through the divorce. While divorce is stressful for parents, it can be more stressful for the children because they can feel that everything in their life is out of control. Research shows without positive co-parenting, children may turn to drugs or alcohol to help them cope.

There Is Help

If your family is struggling to develop a positive co-parenting plan that is beneficial to everyone involved, contact an experienced attorney for assistance. A lawyer can help sort through custody decisions and create the best co-parenting arrangement that keeps parents involved with their children. 

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Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC
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San Antonio, TX 78205

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