Co-parenting is one possible model to follow when you aren’t in a relationship with your child’s other parent. In this model, both adults work closely with each other to ensure that their children have what they need.
While co-parenting is often beneficial for children, it’s sometimes a challenge for the adults involved. Taking steps to ensure there’s no unnecessary stress is beneficial. Consider these five tips to keep the situation calmer if you’re entering a co-parenting arrangement.
Set the tone early
The transition from one home to two will be challenging for the children, but this isn’t a time to coddle them. Instead, set rules right away so that your kids know what to expect. Letting them get away with things now that you won’t allow later can be very confusing for them.
Being flexible about scheduling is often key when co-parenting, but this approach only works if both co-parents engage. If you and your co-parent can both be flexible – when appropriate – this approach will benefit everyone as the uncertainties of life unfold.
Encourage positive relationships
Relationships with both sides of the family are generally important for children, but they may worry that you won’t like them being close to your ex’s side of the family. Encourage them to enjoy the time and experiences they have with all their family members, as long as the relationships are positive.
Effective communication is respectful and calm. Always speak directly to your ex instead of trying to pass messages through your children. Additionally, never speak negatively about your ex because this can impact them. Always remember that your ex is still your child’s other parent and that your child subconsciously connects a significant portion of their identity with that individual.
Taking care of yourself can help you to care for your children better. It also shows them that self-care must always remain a priority.
You and your co-parent can work to better ensure that everything you do is what’s best for your children. Getting the base terms in writing can help everyone know what to expect. As you’re creating a parenting plan with the assistance of a legal professional, be sure to include terms related to conflict resolution and communication expectations to ward off potential sources of tension before they have the opportunity to fester.