Your Complete Co-parenting Guide | Don’t Let Separation Affect Your Child
Have you made the decision to co-parenting your child? Well, you might need these co-parenting tips to understand what it means and how you can co-parent successfully.
Not all relationships and marriages work as people in it plan them to work. Which often result in separation and divorces. And while the partners decide to move ahead in their life, the parents have decisions to make! One such parenting option that parents often opt for is- Co-parenting!
Wherein both the parents take care of the child, support him, and be a part of their upbringing simultaneously. However, it has its own challenges like being judgemental or manipulative about the ex, to name a few, which leaves a negative impact on the child!
To make sure that you are not lost in a sea of blame and judgments, rather you both offer a safe and loving environment to your child as a co-parent we are sharing a complete co-parenting guide with you.
Learn what co-parenting means (beyond the division of child’s responsibility) and how to successfully co-parent your child. Plus find other useful, important, relevant information that will make this road of co-parenting a little easy for you!
What is Co-parenting?
Co-parenting is a post-divorce parenting arrangement. It is the experience of raising the child as a single parent after separation or divorce occurs. Herein. Instead of one parent taking responsibility for the child, both the parents actively engage in the child’s upbringing. It is usually an option when both parents can have reciprocal (and healthy) interactions, if one of the two parents is not emotionally available, co-parenting can go really bumpy!
A remark on co-parenting given by Jennifer Hurvitz, author of One Happy Divorce, will help you make a sense of what co-parenting is, she says, “But when you are in a co-parenting relationship, you have to love your children more than you hate your spouse.”
Basically, as a parent, you leave your emotional baggage aside and move forward in a civil way to nurture your child’s well-being, and this is exactly what co-parenting means.
Struggles of Co-parenting (The Known and The Unknown)
After divorce when you and your partner are separated and out of the relationship issues that you faced, then starts the journey of co-parenting. Co-parenting comes with its own struggles that you should be aware of so that you can tackle them all prepared.
- Constant changes in the planned schedule of yours or your ex.
- The partner being uncooperative in the entire process.
- Lack of communication between you and the partner.
- The child’s disinterest or reluctance in meeting one parent.
- Constant fights or resentments due to a new partner in either or both of your lives.
- Disagreement on grounds of finances.
- Holding different viewpoints over every second thing (which may lead to arguments).
Do’s and Don’ts of Co-parenting
Each couple, each parent, each child, and each co-parenting family will differ on various grounds. Although there is no one size fit all model here that can be applied to make co-parenting effective, there are some Do’s and Don’ts that you can take care of.
Successful Co-parenting Tips:
Divorce of parents in itself is a bumpy road for a child to travel on, on top of it if one parent is not healthy it can leave a negative impact on a child’s mental health and overall well-being. That is why it becomes important to learn effective co-parenting tips so that the child still feels safe and loved.
1. Have a Schedule But Be Flexible
With you and your co-parent having different lives, priorities, and life schedules, it is best advised to work on a time-table! Having a schedule will help you have a perfect routine instead of putting each other in the “let us see” zone.
Through planned parenting transitions your child will also stay away from unnecessary stressors. However, while having a schedule will bring consistency in your life, some days might not go as planned.
For those days, keep yourself a little flexible and be understanding of your partner. Remember someday you might be needing accommodation from their end, so support them like you would want to be supported by them.
2. Keep Manipulation at Bay
You need to understand that the child needs to have a healthy and honest relationship with both the parents. They can’t be choosing between you both, just because you want them to!
So, behold your urge of putting your co-parent in a negative light and become your child’s favorite. Take a deep breath and remember that was a time when you loved your ex, and even though you can’t stand them now, your child never fell out of their or your love.
The truth is, they never will, so stop investing your energy in the futile efforts of manipulation and invest them in building positive relationships between them.
3. Discuss Changes Beforehand
To avoid any heated arguments (especially in front of your child), discuss any changes in your plans or schedules beforehand. Make sure you have a healthy discussion with your co-parent and understand their point of view and life situation.
4. Attend Events Like a Team
Maybe you are separated as a partner but not as a parent (remember that at every step of co-parenting). You have to put your child first instead of worrying about what others are thinking. Go as a team and root for your child!
5. Celebrate Special Days (Don’t Ignore Them)
If you are planning to avoid the special dates like your co-parent’s birthday, mother’s day, father’s day, and more- DON’T! You should make them feel the same. So, come up together as a family and celebrate your special days together just like good old days. In fact, here is a small tip, plan dinners together once a month!
6. Set Boundaries (The Healthy Ones)
Boundaries are at heart of any form of relationship whether you are parenting together or working with a co-parenting arrangement. Think of the boundaries that will ensure that you both are leading your life healthily, without interfering in each other’s.
Just ask yourself what you can control and what you cannot as a parent and not as a partner. Remember whatever you are doing you are setting an example for your child so be respectful of each other.
Plus, while you are creating your boundaries remember that your partner has his own boundaries, respect them! As Jane Blaustone says, “the best security blanket a child has is parent;s who respect each other,” so keep this point in mind.
7. Be Empathetic, Grateful, and Open to Communication
These three here are the key to healthy and positive co-parenting.
Be Empathetic: Try to put yourself in your co-parent’s and child’s shoe to understand what they are going through. You have to show them empathy to make this arrangement work healthily.
Be Grateful: You both are putting equal efforts in making this co-parenting arrangement easy for your child. Don’t hold yourself back from saying “thank you” everytime you get a chance. This will boost their efforts and let us be honest who does not like to be appreciated!
Be Open to Communication: Don’t shut them out just like that. Listen to what your co-parent has to suggest, discuss with them, and act like a team.
8. Seek Therapy Not Competition
I came across a few lines on co-parenting which goes like this, The best mature co-parents will tell their therapist and not their child how much the other parent sucks.
So, if your co-parent is not being supportive or you have some other issues to deal with, instead of dragging your child in it, seek help from professionals.
In fact, there is a special therapy for co-parents that will help you feel your feelings of anger and hurt at bay, and further aid you to move in a healthy direction.
Special Section: Breaking The News To The Child
- Instead of one parent breaking the news, you both should initiate the conversation with your child. Think of it as your step towards co-parenting.
- Tell your child the valid and strong reasons for separation without diving into details or blame game. Remember you have to keep the negatives away from the child.
- Assure them that they are not the reason behind this separation. Often children associate separation with them, thinking of them as the cause behind the same. Clear this doubt first hand.
- Have open communication about which parent is leaving and who will be staying with them. This will give them room to think over it.
- Finally and most importantly, tell them that they will still be loved and taken care of. Be honest here and share the reality that things are changing between you as a couple, as a parent your love won’t change for them.
Right before you make the decision of going on your separate roads and opt for co-parenting, you must communicate the same with your child. You can’t be breaking the news to them right on the day of separation.
Your child too needs time to be mentally prepared for both separations and being co-parented! Here are some pointers that can help you with the same:
With this guide on co-parenting, we hope that you now know what does co-parenting means and how does co-parenting works.
If you have any other questions or concerns popping in your head write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message in our comments section.
Thank you for reading!