Being a co-parent is one of the most difficult jobs for both men and women. When you’re just getting out of a relationship it can be quite challenging to fairly distribute your attention to the millions of other things going on in your personal life while positively contributing to your child’s well-being. While the stress of the situation can take a toll on your mental and physical health, it is unfair to put the burden on your child(s) who may be dealing with certain emotions of their own. The best way to move forward with co-parenting, without inconveniencing your children, is to ensure their stability, safety and help them maintain a healthy relationship with both parents.
The key to co-parenting is to set personal issues with your ex aside and try to develop a healthy, balanced co-parenting relationship for the sake of your children.
Here are a few helpful tips on how to make co-parenting work:
No room for resentment:
While you may no longer be married or coupled with your partner, you are still family. And though there may be unresolved feelings (including hurt and anger) towards your partner, these emotions need to take a back seat and your children need to be made the priority. The goal of co-parenting is essentially ensuring your child’s happiness and well-being. If resentment is made part of the equation, you may never be able to fully achieve this.
Often, during messy break-ups, children are put in the middle of situations unnecessarily. Don’t use your children to convey messages to your ex and try to keep issues strictly between the adults.
Though this may be tough, healthy communication is the best way to ensure your child’s needs are being met. Try to have peaceful, meaningful, and productive conversations with your partner to ensure successful co-parenting. While communication is important, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to meet with your ex in person. If you’re able to communicate your message via a phone call or text message, do so. Figure out how you can communicate best with your partner and aim for conflict-free conversations.
Teamwork makes the dream work:
In order to make sure that your children stay disciplined and on track, you and your partner need to be a team. Be sure you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to laying down rules, disciplinary methods, and schedules. Your children must know that although the family is no longer living under the same roof, the same basic principles apply in either household. If you and your ex are consistent and clear with each other as well as your children, it will help avoid miscommunication and confusion in the long run.
The bigger decisions:
When you’re living together, making decisions regarding education, finances and medical issues can be a whole lot easier. However, when you’re separated it is important to lay down your perspectives and opinions regarding these topics so there is no conflict in the future. Be open, truthful, and direct about your thought process so you can work through your differences with your ex-partner and reach agreements, efficiently.
Be open, truthful, and direct about your thought process so you can work through your differences with your ex-partner and reach agreements, efficiently.
With schooling, be sure to inform your child’s school about your situation and communicate how to move forward with sports, events and extra curriculars with your ex-partner. In terms of finances, divide the expenses and clarify your responsibilities so you and your ex can set a realistic budget for individual contributions.
Disputes and Deviations:
As co-parents, you may have different views on what is best for your child. While your ex may not agree with your decisions or vice versa, it is always crucial to maintain respect. While you are entitled to your own opinion, so is your ex. Hence, to avoid disputes, be respectful of their views. Showing your ex simple manners can also play a really important role in how your children act towards you and your partner.
You will also need to learn to compromise in certain capacities. Compromising will mean that both of you get to “win” certain situations. Not only will this help maintain a healthy balance but will also take some responsibilities off your plate.
Tensions can run high when co-parenting. We believe it is really important to find a friend who you can speak to or join a group for co-parents. When you’re able to speak to someone going through a similar situation, you might feel less frustrated and, in some cases, learn from other’s experiences.
We wish you best of luck and success on your journey to co-parenting!