As unfortunate as it sounds, marriages don’t always end up working out. But failed marriage and divorce between spouses don’t mean the end of responsibility to raise children as parents. This is where co-parenting comes in.
Many parenting aspects remain the same after a separation. Co-parents must assume joint responsibility in many cases, unless you have sole custody of your child.
More than anything, it’s critical to communicate and be on the same page in your co-parenting arrangement. That will ensure you remain a source of comfort and stability for this challenging period in your child’s life.
There’s a lot involved in making this joint interaction work. Whatever the case, you and your ex-partner must work out personal differences. That way, you can make clear decisions to help your child feel stable.
Here are some tips to help you co-parent effectively:
1. Develop a Co-Parenting Plan with the Other Parent
Co-parenting efforts begin with developing a co-parenting plan. Many parents in this arrangement adopt a parallel parenting plan. That means you and your ex-spouse can use your parenting approaches in your two households.
Still, you must both discuss openly with each other and with respect for conflict resolution. The plan should address:
- Means of communication
- Rules and decision-making guidelines
- Parent visitation schedule
- School and education
- Child support and finances
- Special events (family, school, etc.)
- Children’s medical needs
- Back-up arrangements
Once the co-parenting plan is in place, you must understand that there may be future changes due to unforeseen events.
Thus, the key is open and civil communication. But we know this isn’t always easy, especially with the emotional turmoil involved in separation. If this proves difficult to accomplish, you can always seek help from a relationship counselor. You can also seek a family dispute resolution practitioner or book resources.
2. Set Personal Feelings Aside
A successful co-parenting relationship means setting aside your own emotions. You focus on your child’s needs and emotional well-being. Many co-parents’ mistake is putting their children in the middle and venting negative feelings to them.
One parent putting kids in the center of the conflict only does harm. Worse, they can develop resentment and anxiety growing up. You want to establish solid relationships with each other.
In line with this, try to help your child feel connected to their other parent. Encourage them to have fun or spend time at their other parent’s house. At the same time, communicate openly with your ex-spouse. Talk about what’s going on with your child while they’re with you.
That will be the hardest part of joint custody. That is more so if you ended a bad relationship with your ex-spouse. Learning how to set your personal feelings aside will make things easier. It also helps your co-parent and your child along the way. It will help your child feel that they’re more important than your conflict.
Remember, co-parenting is not about parents’ feelings. It’s about ensuring the best for your children’s lives moving forward.
3. Work as Team and Improve Communication with Your Co-Parent
A co-parenting relationship runs on making mutual decisions for your child’s sake. Hence, it’s crucial to be cooperative and work as a team with each other. Again, this is easier said than done. But it begins with switching your mindset and focusing on the benefits.
Do you find it dreadful to speak with your ex-spouse? Try to see it in a different light as something concerning your child’s well-being. Every conversation’s focus must be your child’s needs.
Listen, be open and straightforward, and compromise. Show restraint even amidst disagreement. Also, improving communication doesn’t mean always meeting each other personally. You can speak over the phone or exchange emails. You can text about important matters concerning your child.
You can think of your co-parent as a business partner or colleague to establish conflict-free communication. That way, your communication would be civil despite not remaining friends or partners.
Prioritizing Your Children’s Needs through Your Co-Parenting Plan
At the end of the day, co-parenting thrives on effective communication. Sam goes with mutual respect between you and your co-parent.
Even when it’s not a romantic relationship anymore, co-parents share the same responsibility. You must put your children’s needs on top of everything. What happens when divorced parents fulfill this and work out an efficient arrangement? Children learn that they remain loved despite changing circumstances.