May 14, 2019
Co-Parenting, Co-Parenting Tips, Flexibility, Teamwork, Cooperation, Adult Business, Parenting Schedules
Separation and divorce tends to make parenting differences more pronounced and challenging. As a co-parent you and your other parent share responsibility for raising your child. Job loss, a necessary move or illnesses can make this more stressful. You can follow our tips to make co-parenting easier on you and your children so that you may have a happier and healthier family life.
- Focus on your children. Instead of putting them on display, you can reduce feelings of hurt and anger by focusing on the children. Focus on your children by separating adult and child business. Children shouldn’t hear about adult business. Examples of Adult business are feelings about the other parent, and all money matters. Also make sure you don’t put your children in the middle, they are not messengers. Passing messages can lead to a loyalty bind which is when a child feels pulled to take the side of one parent over the other.
- Cooperate. Effective communication is key to cooperation. Be tolerant, calm, and constructive during conversations. Ask, don’t demand. Request politely, don’t give orders, be nice. Instead of saying “Her clothes are always dirty when she comes back to my house”, say instead “Why don’t we agree we will always wash her clothes before sending her back to the other parent?”. Listen, don’t interrupt. Take a breath and focus on your children before responding. Listening to the other parent does not show your approval of what they say. You don’t lose anything by listening; let the other parent finish before responding. Not everything the other parent says needs a response. Never discuss these problems in front of the child. Offer to compromise on something they find important even if they don’t return the favor, you will at least have avoided the stress for you and your children.
- Work as a Team. By working as a team you should set up similar rules for both homes, they don’t have to be exactly the same. Set a schedule for meeting your other parent to discuss your children’s problems and stick to it. You should also set schedules between the two homes which are similar. For example at moms house we may have to go to bed at 9 PM due to her work, and at dads house bedtime may be 10 PM. Agree in advance that the discipline results will be the same or similar in both homes. As parents you both want to be consistent. It also requires teamwork to make joint decisions on things such as school or family finances.
- Be Flexible. Always keep an open mind when scheduling any event which may come into conflict with your shared parenting plan. Make sure to talk to your co-parent as soon as possible and bring up any conflicts which may occur right away. Remember last week when you had to do the same thing and your co-parent made accommodations for you?
If you are unable to bring up a subject or cannot come to an agreement with the parenting plan, you must seek a mediator to help you. Not doing so will bring conflict home to both you and your co-parent and your children will suffer. Keep your goals clear and always focus on the children.
Here are some additional resources for effective communication with your co-parent:
KIDS FIRST: What Kids Want Grown-Ups to Know About Separation and Divorce
Making Divorce Easier on Your Child
If you would like to learn more about Co-Parenting you can take our online parenting class for divorce. If you need a certficate for your court you may need to take one of our live classes or a particular class for your area. You can find out which class is right for you by starting at: https://www.certevia.com/parenting-and-divorce-classes/ and choosing your State and County.