Effective co-parenting is about ensuring that children’s well being and their best interest are met and children are supported to have a close relationship with both parents.
Co-parenting involves negotiating how day-to-day parenting responsibilities and decisions will be shared. Studies have shown that children with parents who cooperate and support each other do better in school and have higher self-esteem.
Whether you are raising your children together or separated you are co-parenting.
Co-parenting can be especially difficult for divorced, separated and never-married parents who must work together while living apart. Co-parenting takes on an extra strain when parents separate or divorce, and children are in the middle. A challenging task but, not impossible.
Points to consider:
Your child wants to love both of his or her parents. Do not use your child as an ally.
One of the most stressful events for a child is when a parent puts down or criticize the other parent in your child’s presence.
When co-parenting disagreements arise, avoid arguing with the other parent in front of your child.
Try to work toward resolving the issue in private.
Asking your child to take your side in any situation regarding the other parent can create a tremendous amount of stress for your child.
When separating or divorcing:
Keep the other parent informed about your child’s school issues, activities, medical issues and any concerns about his or her behavior or discipline.
When you need to communicate with the other parent, contact him or her directly and ask him or her to do the same.
Think carefully when you are talking about the other parent when your child can overhear you.
Avoid venting your hostile feelings toward the other parent in front of your child.
Do not use your child as a messenger or spy. It is very difficult for a child to cope with feeling caught in the middle. Also, do not ask your child questions about the other parent’s personal life.
Try to work on your relationship with your child rather than concentrating on your negative feelings for the other parent.
When parents get along well with each other, they are honest with their children that they are not going to get back together.
What to do:
It is not easy to co-parent. It requires that both parents work together establishing common goals to support their children. When disagreement arises:
Be clear, non-defensive.
Communicate with mutual respect.
Maintain focus on the topic at hand and remain calm.
Leave criticism, defensiveness and sarcasm out of your discussion.
Research on the effects of children who grow up listening and witnessing their parents’ constant disharmony shows, whether living together or not, children are profoundly affected.
Things that can help children to grow emotionally well:
Ongoing, supportive relationship with both parents.
Low levels of conflict between parents.
Keeping children out of the middle of conflicts between parents.
Open, honest communication with their parents.
Giving children both nurturance and consistent limits.
In some instances, doing things as a family can be a positive, supportive experience for children; i.e.: school performances, birthdates and other family activities.
Spending times together as a family may also reassure children that both parents still love them. However, if there is a high level of conflict between parents, it is probably better to minimize children’s exposure to that conflict.
If you find it is difficult to co-parent with the other parent as he/she is not on board, you can benefit from concentrating on the changes you want to make. I can help you start. Call for a consultation or set up an appointment. Strengthening your relationship with your children will develop strong bond.