Co-parenting is when both parents work together as a team to raise their children, even after the marriage or romantic relationship is over. Co-parenting can be challenging, especially when there are conflicts or disagreements between the parents. But, when done right, it can be wonderful for the children.
Co-parenting can have many benefits for the children. It provides them with the love and support of both parents and helps them cope with the changes and transitions of divorce or separation. It can also enhance their self-esteem and confidence, reduce their exposure to stress and conflict and model healthy communication and problem-solving skills to help your children have better adult relationships as well.
Prioritize the children’s happiness and well-being
Make decisions that are in their best interest, not based on your own emotions or preferences. Focus on your child’s needs, not your wants.
Communicate respectfully and constructively
Share information and updates about the children’s life, such as their school, health, activities and achievements. Avoid arguing, blaming, criticizing or being condescending. Use email, text or written notes if face-to-face communication is difficult or triggers negative emotions.
Work out a co-parenting plan that covers important aspects of the children’s care, such as visitation, routine, education, finances and medical needs. Be flexible and willing to compromise when necessary. Follow the plan consistently and honor your commitments. If you have a legal order for access and visitation, make sure you understand it and comply with it.
Avoid speaking negatively about the other parent to the children, asking them to take sides or keeping them from the other parent out of anger or spite. Respect the other parent’s role and relationship with the children. Encourage them to spend time with both parents and to express their feelings openly.
Use your support network
Seek support and guidance from professionals or organizations that can help you co-parent more effectively. You may benefit from taking co-parenting classes, joining a support group or consulting a therapist or mediator.