Children of divorced parents often struggle to trust, to feel cared about, or to feel the constructive influence of both parents in their lives. Constantly being relocated and split between two homes can be detrimental or at least concerning to a child’s upbringing. “Co-parenting” is one solution that has significant potential in productive parenting and a healthy lifestyle for a child. Maintaining a focus on the child, consistent constructive communication, an effort to align guidelines, and mutual respect and cooperation between parents are essential components to a positive relationship between child and parent.
Focus on the Children
At the very least, your child is the one element that undeniably connects you and your former spouse. If both of you want to contribute to your child’s life and play a role in it, they need to be the determining factor in any decision. As difficult as it may be, there will likely be things you will have to (even begrudgingly) compromise to create the best circumstances for the child’s development and happiness. With your ex, according to Lifehacker, you should establish that your child’s well-being is the most important thing to both of you and you will each be willing to do what is necessary to foster such.
Talk it Out
Communication is always key! There will almost certainly be situations concerning rules, boundaries, involvement, and expectations that will require communication between you and your ex. Especially when determining the initial guidelines of co-parenting, consider professional mediation to ensure effective communication. According to Judy Ford Attorney at Law, mediation can help you negotiate custody and other decisions, without the costly and exhausting process of going to court. If that can be avoided, both parties will feel more confident and less hostile towards the other knowing that each of you is willing to be patient, composed, and considerate.
Try to Be Consistent
According to Empowering Parents, having rules in one home and not the other may be frustrating for a child who doesn’t understand why one parent finds an act okay while another finds it punishable. Discuss with your partner how to align expectations to create a level of consistent implementation of rules. If that alignment is unattainable, explain to your child that it is okay for there to be differences in homes and provide reasonable cases for the benefit of both kinds of rules. Support your partner’s decisions as best you can; if there are issues that you feel strongly should not be a part of the child’s life, communicate or seek mediation.
Show Respect Through Cooperation
Your child will be attuned to the tension between you and your partner if you are uncooperative. Following through on promises and schedules is an important part of demonstrating respect and support to your partner and your child. Attempting to sabotage or take advantage of the other parent in your child’s life will only result in confused feelings on the child’s end, and hurt feelings on the parent’s. Be kind to your child by being kind to each other!
Co-parenting may be a tricky balance for all involved, but it also allows children to create healthy and uplifting relationships with both of their parental figures, meaning they have positive influences from both sides. Let this be your goal, and co-parenting can be successful.
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