Co-Parenting Tips

Co-parenting can be awkward and complicated. It takes a lot of work and time for two parents to establish a healthy relationship in which they can say it is going well. Organizing schedules, struggling with different parenting styles, and developing effective communication are often part of the stressful, co-parenting world. Some even have to deal with time differences and distance, making it that much more difficult. Not to mention we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Stress is going to be at large and feeling the pressure right now is definitely expected and completely understandable. Let’s face it, co-parenting can be straight up exhausting.

However, co-parenting is very possible with some work and you may even find you slip into an easiness allowing some peace and understanding. An unwillingness to try is worse than any failure. The most important factor is setting aside differences and placing the needs of the child above all. Here are some tips from an article featuring clinical psychologist and author of Joy from Fear: Create the Life of Your Dreams by Making Fear your Friend. Carla Marie Manly, PhD., as well as Amy L. Stark, PhD, a child psychologist specializing in transitions after divorce. Link is down below.

1.Effective Communication and Ground Rules

“Be consistent, respectful, and kind.”

This is how parents should be conducting themselves at all times. Setting aside differences and keeping the best interest of the child at play. Accepting that the co-parent is still the parent of our child is crucial, not only for both parties to have a healthy relationship but so that the child can develop a loving and healthy relationship with both parents, post-separation. To care completely about your child’s needs means caring about the well-being of the other parent as well. Developing this type of mindset will allow both parties to effectively communicate with one another, which will be necessary for years to come. Communication leads to parents being able to set up ground rules together, so that there is consistent structure at both homes. The agreement should be reasonable for everyone and stable. Forming and maintaining these ground rules should create a good routine for both the child and the parents and initiates a foundation of respect and healthy communication.

2.Talking Parents or Family Wizard App

There will be times during co-parenting where emotions rise and there are things one wants to say to another. There are many of us who don’t have a very great relationship with our ex and a lot of the times we harbor bitter and angry feelings towards them. It can be very difficult to have to communicate with one another, but if you focus on the child’s needs and development, that is key. Negative messages and random phone calls to our exes doesn’t ever prove to do any good for the relationship. If you’re having a hard time refraining from talking about your relationship, there are a few apps that allow parents to be introduced to healthy co-parenting practices and allow parents to communicate via the app about appointments, schooling, activities, etc. It may be a great way to start having a cordial relationship with one another with only necessary communication. This allows the focus to be solely on the child. It is pivotal for both parties to work together to understand these needs and promote a healthy educational, healthy social, and activity filled life. When discussing anything to do with the child, keep all of your other thoughts and concerns at bay. Just remember to keep your child your primary focus.

3. Establish a Regular Check In.

Whether it be bi-weekly or monthly, setting aside time for a meeting with one another can be very beneficial. Parents can utilize this time to discuss any concerns they may be having, any upcoming events/changes in regard to the child, or any other issues at bay. It is important to maintain respect and kindness throughout the meeting, avoid defensiveness and accusations, so that way the meeting is beneficial instead of detrimental. During this meeting you can manage a shared family calendar to stay organized. A digital calendar, such as google, will allow both parents to have access to events and special dates. The calendar will strengthen the sense of teamwork and the feeling of being kept in the loop for both parties.

4. Don’t Make Your Child the Intermediary![A group of people shaking hands

A child may be going through a lot during a separation too. It is a lot of change and adapting for the entire family. A parent should never talk bad about the other in front of the child or have the child pass along messages to the other. It can cause confusion, anger, and have the child feeling the sense of needing to pick sides. Again, co-parenting apps may be the savior here if other forms of communication are not working.

5. Agree to Disagree

We are human. We will not always be able to see eye to eye with one another…especially our exes. You don’t have to cave into your exe’s opinions, feel hopeless about your own, or force yours onto them. Agree to disagree sometimes. Write down your issues, keep them dated, set up a time to discuss them cordially. If you still can’t, move on. Find mediation if absolutely needed. There are plenty of co-parenting psychologists and therapists as well, which could really be beneficial for some relationships. Just don’t expect 100 % compliance at all times. It is unrealistic. When speaking with one another about difficult subjects, remember the mantra “_Be consistent, respectful, and kind.”_

During difficult times it can be easy to allow frustration and other emotions take over. Allow yourself time to read up on various situations to be more aware and in control. The following are links to some resourceful sites on co-parenting, one of which is about parenting during a pandemic.

https://www.womenshealthmag.com/life/a34496072/co-parenting-tips/(https://www.womenshealthmag.com/life/a34496072/co-parenting-tips/)

https://www.mollybkenny.com/blog/co-parenting-in-a-pandemic-10-things-to-watch-out-for.cfm(https://www.mollybkenny.com/blog/co-parenting-in-a-pandemic-10-things-to-watch-out-for.cfm)

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/two-takes-depression/201203/the-dos-and-donts-co-parenting-well(https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/two-takes-depression/201203/the-dos-and-donts-co-parenting-well)

http://www.childreninthemiddle.com/rulescoparent.htm(http://www.childreninthemiddle.com/rulescoparent.htm)

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