Five Successful Co-parenting Strategies
Recently separated or divorced looking for successful co-parenting strategies? Dealing with the chaos of co-parenting can be tough. A lot of the time things are said, and done in the moment. It can be hard to take the emotion out when making important decisions.
Unintentionally, parents can lose sight of why they make certain decisions, when in fact it's about what's best for the child. As co-parents you need to be solving problems, communicating effectively, and building a strong co-parenting team. Unfortunately, there is no perfect schedule or agreement, so just try to focus on the best possible agreement plan.
Co-parenting requires empathy, patience and open communication for success. To keep things fair and clean you should also establish a parenting agreement in the early days of separation. If you haven't already it's not too late. A parenting agreement is a formal legal document that details your rights and responsibilities as parents.
Taking the time now to establish boundaries and expectations with your ex will take the guesswork out of your co-parenting. It will also keep things less messy by having your agreement legalized. Be sure to contact a family law attorney licensed in your state for more information on how to establish a parenting agreement.
1. Have a Schedule for Visitation
After separation, there are a lot of emotions about who goes where and on what days. When parents are used to seeing their kids just about every day it can be tough to think about splitting that time with the other parent. In truth, we want all that time, however, deep down we know we need to do what's best for our kids.
In the beginning, children are very confused, even upset, and frustrated by the new family dynamics. Be sure to continue to provide structure and answer their questions as best you can, without spilling too many beans. Or even getting upset. This is about them not you. This is a huge transition for them.
In my Co-parenting with Grace agreement plan, you can answer questions that will help you determine the best schedule for your children. Keep in mind, that the idea is to design a schedule that will allow your child to thrive in. Unless it's for a legitimate safety concern, take the emotion out of schedule planning. Children in two-parent homes can do very well with a schedule that meets their needs.
2. Speak Positive About the Other Parent
Though a romantic relationship between the two of you has ended, it's important for your child to see that you can still respect each other. Especially if your child is around. It would be unfair for your children to feel as though they would have to pick sides. Regardless of any wrongdoings, it's not productive to add that kind of stress in your children's lives.
Hard feelings between parents, especially when children observe or hear them, are very toxic for children.
3. encourage a relationship with the other parent
Love it or hate it, children have a right to have a relationship with their fathers. I mean, why wouldn't we want them to. Statistics show that too many children suffer from psychological effects of growing up fatherless. Children require love and support from both parents, and unfortunately, that's not always the case.
Just ask yourself, if this is what's best for my child in the long run? You know that a fathers role is crucial in the upbringing of a child. Especially because of how men and women parent differently. Eliminating the father all together does give children a disadvantage.
4. Always put your Children's needs first
Children do very well when they have BOTH parents in their lives. Like I stated earlier, regardless of any wrongdoings, put your child's needs first. Old resentments can put some dings in your efforts, but it can be done. The goal is to build a strong co-parenting team and create an environment your child can thrive in.
If there's no real safety concern, use the Co-parenting with Grace plan to help you answer questions like, "Do you think the other parent can put your child's needs first", or " Would I still make the same parenting decisions if we were still together". When you find yourself saying "NO" to these type of questions, you and your ex may need to explore working with a co-parenting counselor.
5. Co-parenting communication
Schedules can change and mix-ups will happen. It's important to maintain communication and be flexible when these things happen. It's also best to not let these frustrations affect your child. Co-parenting presents a mixed variety of stresses and more conventional means of communication will most likely increase conflict than rectify it.
Your parenting plan may need to include the use of email to contact the other parent about your child. This may be best for you because it allows you to create a true record of your communication. Texting allows you and the other parent to quickly exchange basic information. However, if there is a disagreement, texting may not provide a true record of your communication. Please remember to use respectful language when communicating with one another.
All things considered, there's no such thing as perfect co-parenting. Don't be discouraged if succeeding at a healthy co-parenting relationship does not come easy at first. Like all things, this will take time, BUT it doesn't mean that it can't work.
Remember that you are doing this because you BOTH want to put your children's needs above your own. If you find your progress at a standstill, try working with a co-parenting counselor to get to the root of your problem. Just keep in mind that you want to create an environment that will allow your child to thrive.