COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – A blended family from the Fountain City is shedding a new light across the internet after a step-mom shared a picture online of two co-parenting couples supporting her stepdaughter at her soccer game.
The family said they never expected this photo to go viral, but now they're hoping to set an example for co-parenting couples everywhere.
"The vice president of the soccer complex came to us and said there are a lot of times kids have to come to soccer games alone because the parents can't get along," said mother Clara Cazeau.
But for mother Cazeau and step-mother Emilee Player of 4-year-old Maelyn Player, they both agreed that situation will never be the case for their children.
"If you're not 100 percent in it for the child, it won't work," said Player.
Player and Cazeau said although their situation took time to build as a steady blended family, parents who are looking for a solid co-parenting situation must focus on the well-being and needs of their children in order to achieve a healthy blended family environment.
"In my eyes, her happiness is all that matters when it comes to all of us getting along," Player said
Co-parenting in their blended family doesn't just stop at wearing soccer jerseys Maelyn's soccer game.
"It was never a question in my mind whether or not I was going to get along with Clara and her family. I was going to do it for Maelyn's sake," said Player.
Cazeau says even though they have a blended family, she still wanted to keep a family tradition alive by having the entire family wear jerseys supporting Maelyn at her soccer game.
"It was really positive, a lot of people would just say we wish we could be like that," said Player. "We do holidays together, we do birthdays together... we're basically like best friends," Cazeau and Player both say.
"It is definitely a process, we split up in 2013, when she was only 8 months old," said Cazeau.
Both Cazeau and Player agree although their blended family may not be "rainbows" all the time, still, not every situation can be as ideal as theirs'.
Family Psychologist and Counselor Christie Anderson said co-parenting relationships can have long term lasting effects on children growing up in positive blended family environments.
"For example, parents who are modeling more appropriate behaviors for their children are teaching those children to learn those appropriate skills and manage socially. Whether that's with their peers or as they get older in life," said Anderson.
Anderson said any parents who may be struggling to make co-parenting work can start with the needs of the children in the family.
"The needs of the child are always put first," said Anderson.
"It was a lot and it was really hard to adjust with new people coming in and their families," said Cazeau.
Both parents encourage all parents who are working at a co-parenting relationship to keep trying at making the blended family relationship work.
"Try to put your differences aside and not think too much about the past," said Cazeau. "Think about the child. Because all in all the most important thing is the child feeling like they have been accepted in every way possible and that we all love [them]."