If you are co-parenting your children following a separation, you will know how challenging it can be. Co-parenting is likened to a rollercoaster ride. Full of ups and downs, highs and lows. Sometimes it’s great. Other times it’s scary. And it’s not unusual to want to stop the ride and get off!
Unfortunately, for many parents, co-parenting is a long-term mission as we guide our children from tender years, through to tweens, teens and beyond. All the while working alongside an ex-partner with whom communication is already a struggle.
Is it any wonder that co-parenting comes with uncomfortable amounts of stress and conflict? It is a fact that good co-parenting equates to happy kids. Therefore, nothing is more important than getting this shared parenting gig right.
To help, here are our suggestions to get your co-parenting back on track for the sake of everyone involved.
Practice empathy and active listening
Co-parents need to take on a perspective similar to their partner to build a stronger relationship and reduce the likelihood of conflicts arising.
Empathy allows you to understand the situation from your partner’s perspective, which can lead them to find common ground when conflict arises. Effective communication is essential for a healthy co-parenting relationship.
To achieve this goal, parents should be attentive and engaged when listening to their partner, even if they disagree with them. This demonstrates respect and helps build a positive relationship between the two parties.
Despite best efforts, conflicts can still arise in co-parenting relationships.
In these cases, seeking the help of a neutral third party, such as a mediator, can be extremely helpful in resolving these issues and finding mutually acceptable solutions.
Mediators can provide an objective perspective and guide parents toward a resolution that benefits them and their children.
Clearly define your expectations and boundaries
A good co-parenting partnership depends on well-defined expectations and boundaries.
When it comes to communication and making decisions, parents should agree on their respective duties and responsibilities and what they anticipate from one another. This helps minimise misunderstandings and disagreements that can result in pointless debates.
To ensure that everything remains consistent, it’s crucial to review these expectations and boundaries to the best of both parents abilities.
Focus on the kids
Co-parenting can be a rollercoaster adventure. However, it can be a wonderful experience for everyone concerned when both parents are devoted to setting a good example for their children.
The children’s wellness and happiness should be the main priorities. Put aside whatever problems you may have and work together for the sake of your kids. This entails refraining from bad behaviour like blaming, accusing, or arguing in front of the kids.
By doing this, co-parents can make sure they lead by example for their kids and foster their development into healthy individuals who can make wise decisions on their own.
Find a support system
Co-parenting can be stressful and it is okay to have many bottled-up emotions and feelings.
Having a good support system can help relieve some of these emotions. You can get support from your close friends and loved ones. Everyone needs an outlet to vent and process their feelings.
Divorce leaves parents feeling broken and hopeless and alone but it doesn’t have to be so, with the right support, you can feel happy and whole again.
Further reading: Brilliant charities that offer help during your separation.
Look after yourself
Co-parenting may be a challenging experience, so it’s crucial for parents to look after their own emotional and physical health.
Taking time for yourself and engaging in activities that promote self-care is vital to lower stress levels and enhance general well-being. Exercising, meditating, or spending time with friends and family can be helpful.
If you take care of yourself first, you’ll be able to give your children a more stable environment to thrive in.
Be flexible and adaptable in order to stay on top of changes
As children grow, their needs and priorities change. This means parents should be open to adjusting the parenting arrangement to accommodate these changes. They should work together to find the best solution for everyone involved.
Parents who are flexible and able to adapt their behaviour can ensure that their co-parenting relationship continues to meet the needs of their children and provide them with a positive environment in which they can grow and develop.
Be proactive in finding and solving problems
Co-parents should take a proactive approach to resolving conflicts and also work together to find solutions that everyone can agree on. This helps prevent arguments and criticism from leading to lasting damage.
Instead of engaging in individual battles, co-parenting efforts should be geared toward reaching resolutions through constructive means that benefit all parties involved.
Treating your co-parent with respect in front of the kids is essential, especially when there is conflict.
You must refrain from attacking each other personally and instead concentrate on finding answers to the issues at hand.
It’s not always about getting your way, but about coming up with a solution that works for everyone.
Seek Professional Help
Co-parents can also look for professional assistance, such as therapy or counselling, to help them get through any difficulties they may have.
A therapist can offer direction and help on matters like communicating, resolving conflicts, and handling difficult emotions. This can help relieve stress from the parents.
Co-parents can aim toward a wholesome and fruitful relationship through this support. The main goal should be to give the kids a secure, caring, and nurturing environment.
Maintain healthy communication channels
Avoid using your child as a messenger when discussing important topics or issues with each other. Instead, discuss these matters directly. This will help prevent confusion and potential conflict down the road!
If this isn’t working out for whatever reason maybe because one parent has been avoiding contact altogether. Try creating designated platforms such as email or phone calls where both parents can speak directly with each other.
Make use of technology
Co-parents can keep organised and communicate clearly by using technology.
Co-parenting-specific websites and apps can offer a platform for communication, calendar sharing, and task lists.
To make sure that both parents are on the same page, these technologies enable co-parents to swiftly and conveniently share crucial information, such as scheduling adjustments. Additionally, having all the data in one location makes it simpler to keep track of crucial particulars, lowering the possibility of confusion and misunderstanding.
In conclusion, co-parenting is a careful mix of working as a team and overcoming the difficulties of raising children after a separation or divorce.
It takes a lot of time, effort, and patience from both parents, but the benefits of seeing your kids flourish in a safe and secure atmosphere can make it all worthwhile.
Co-parents can attempt to establish a pleasant and peaceful relationship by adhering to helpful advice, including keeping lines of communication open, prioritising the needs of the children, and asking for help from family and friends.
Further reading: How to give and gain respect during your separation.