Rarely do people plan to become a single parent. Yet, with a third of marriages in Australia ending in divorce, and 50% of those couples having kids, more people than ever are supporting the status. They are also recognising that it’s not all bad, in fact many are embracing it.

As a co-parent, it is possible to create a new way-of-life that allows you to progress as a person, whilst being the best parent you can be for your children.

So, if you’re feeling unsure about the new single parent pathway ahead of you, you needn’t be. Here are our reasons why you should embrace your new role as a co-parent.

Happy home, happy kids

Co-parenting is a great way to role model what a healthy, low-conflict relationship can look like for our children. And there is no doubt that children are happier living in two happy homes rather than one unhappy home. Not only this, by having two homes, co-parenting can double the number of resources a child is exposed to, including social circles and amenities.

Develop different, closer bonds with your children

Often people assume that being a co-parent will have a negative impact on the relationship between parents and their kids, however in most cases it is entirely the opposite. The dynamics change and being the only parent present can create a closer bond as they experience the ebb and flow of life in each parent’s home. This is especially true for co-parenting dads who have perhaps taken a back-seat in the parenting role whilst married.

Have time to develop as a person

There isn’t a married parent around who won’t have a twinge of envy when you announce you’re having a ‘kid-free’ weekend. These times are invaluable to explore and develop yourself as a whole to become an even better role model to your kids. It is not uncommon for single parents to retrain for entirely new careers or start businesses once away from the confines of their married life. Of course, this time also allows you to relax, recharge and be energised for your kids return.

Spend more quality time with your kids

Being a co-parent means you spend less time with your children, but the time is often higher quality and more engaged. By not being with your children 100%, you can use your time without them to catch-up on house-work, cooking and other mundane chores. Having these out the way means you can plan more activities with your kids, or simply make the most of one-on-one time with them, without worrying about how clean the kitchen floor is.

Teach your children about reality

As much as we’d all like a perfect picture-book life, it is rarely the case for anyone. And it doesn’t hurt for children to understand that life isn’t perfect whilst they have both parents close-by. As we support our children through our separation they learn there is no standard way to be ‘happy’. We can lead by example that families come in all shapes and sizes, and as long as there is love and safety, that is ok. It is also an ideal opportunity to teach kids about reality, overcoming obstacles and turning negatives into positives.

Create a stronger sibling bond

An unexpected surprise that often comes with co-parenting is an extra-strong bond created between siblings. Even though they share their time between their parents, they are always together. Only ‘they’ can truly understand their own unique family situation so they may reach out to one another more, and ultimately become closer in the process. A close bond between siblings is not only wonderful in the present day, but it will help them well into the future.

Posted by Belinda Eldridge
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