Co-parenting is usually easier said than done. It can seem extremely difficult at the beginning of separation, but it’s not impossible!
Plus, co-parenting can have multiple benefits for your child’s emotional and mental well being. So it’s worth giving it a try, right? If you want to learn how to manage co-parenting in a healthy and effective way, read on!
Research indicates that children whose parents have healthy co-parenting relationships develop to be well-rounded individuals and grow up just as well as children whose parents have “successful” marriages.
Indeed, a healthy co-parenting relationship allows children to feel safe and loved within the family, which helps them develop their self-esteem and confidence.
In addition, the fact that children see their parents resolving conflicts in a calm and mature manner allows them to better understand and deal with disagreements in their own lives. In short, when children are sure of the love of both parents, they adapt more easily to divorce or separation.
Why is Co-Parenting beneficial for you?
Apart from ensuring the child’s overall well-being, there are also benefits of co-parenting for parents! Both parents can participate equally in their child’s life, which means less suffering and heartache for everyone involved. Healthy co-parenting leads to less conflict and stress in the family setting, which means parents can spend more time focusing on the child’s development.
In addition, children tend to have better relationships with both parents under a co-parenting arrangement because they can spend quality time with them and are not made to have negative feelings towards either of their parents.
7 Tips for Successfully Managing Co-parenting
Do you want joint custody to work between you and your ex-partner?
We’ve put together some tips for you that will help make the transition to co-parenting as smooth as possible for the whole family.
1. Mutual respect is key
Try to view your relationship with your ex in a “professional” way. This means that you don’t necessarily have to like the people you work with, but respect their opinions and do your best to work together to achieve your common goals.
So try to see your ex as your colleague and make your conversations child-centered. Avoid asking more personal questions about his/her life as this could lead to tension and conflict, and of course, you both need to respect each other’s privacy.
Another key point related to effective communication is active listening. Even if you disagree on something, it’s important that you actively listen and try to understand the other person’s point of view instead of silencing them.
Show them you’re listening by repeating what they just said and asking them questions to clarify things – this also reduces the risk of misunderstandings.
2. Communicate respectfully in front of your child as well.
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” – chances are you’ve already given your child these words of wisdom. Now is the time to take your own advice! Don’t curse your ex in front of your kids and don’t talk about “adult issues.”
Children may feel conflicted or guilty if they feel pressured to choose one parent over the other, or may even feel responsible for the separation. Even if you disagree with or dislike your ex, it’s important that you show your child how to deal with their feelings in a healthy and respectful way.
3. Have a support system
It is not easy to live with a separation and to move towards co-parenting. Make sure you have a support system in place and take care of yourself. Talk to friends or a psychologist, and be sure to take time for yourself and stick to your hobbies.
This means that you will be less likely to let off steam in front of your child, as mentioned in the previous point, and generally taking care of yourself will make you less stressed and allow you to be more present in your role as a parent.
4. Separate your feelings from your actions
A divorce can be messy, especially when it involves other parties like family courts and divorce lawyers. Separation from your ex can lead to a lot of pain, anger, or resentment. You may also still have romantic feelings for him/her.
This is arguably the hardest part of co-parenting, but it’s essential that you put your child’s well-being first. To be a good co-parent for your child, you must learn to keep your feelings towards your ex at bay, especially when you are communicating with your child or your ex.
As mentioned in the previous point, working on your feelings by talking to friends or a psychologist is a great idea to help you cope better with this transition.
5. Co-parenting as a team
It is important to be on the same page as the other co-parent. When it comes to your child’s daily schedule.
Children thrive on consistency and routine. So be sure to discuss routines, rules, and discipline with the other parent. So that your child understands appropriate behaviors and knows what to expect in different situations.
Note: Do not compete to be the “fun parent” – as important as having fun is. Your child also needs a sense of security and limits. It is best for them when both parents define what’s okay and what’s not.
6. Create an organized parenting plan
It’s a good idea to sit down with the other parent. And create a parenting plan together about important events in your child’s life.
In addition to rules, habits, and boundaries, it is also important to discuss your child’s medical and financial needs, plans for K-12 schooling and college education, when and how to address topics such as sexuality, gender stereotypes, etc. .
7. Facilitate transitions and life between homes
As we mentioned before, consistency and routines are important for kids. And moving from one parent’s house to another’s can be tricky at times.
To help your child prepare for these changes, remind them in the days before they are going to be living with the other parent. And help them pack their bags in advance so that they are not in a rush at the last minute.
It may also be helpful to keep a few basic items, such as a toothbrush, at both homes.
However, remember that it is also important to give your child space if they need it. If they refuse to go to a parent’s house, listen to them and find out why. If the reason is more emotional, it’s also important to talk to your child about it (when they’re ready).
And don’t worry – most cases of denial to move houses are usually temporary and can happen to either parent. So try not to take it personally.
The secret to co-parenting lies mainly in your ability to have healthy, calm and honest exchanges with the other parent. On the other hand, if communication is broken between the co-parents. It is likely that the child will sooner or later pay the price.
Get professional help from family counsellors and therapists if you and your ex-partner are struggling with co-parenting. In the end, if you care about understanding each other and understanding your child’s needs, you will find solutions.