How to Be Successful Co-Parents

Co-parenting refers to two parents who are no longer together raising their child or children jointly. It requires patience, open communication, and empathy. For former couples who have experienced tension and strife, this can be a difficult task.

It isn’t easy, but following these four tips can help you co-parent successfully.

Focus Solely on Your Child

This is the key to healthy and successful co-parenting: make it all about your child.

You must be able to put aside your differences in order to communicate and compromise for the good of your child. Don’t make decisions intended to hurt your ex; these decisions will hurt your child as well.

Take the high road: Encourage your kids to communicate with the other parent, praise the other parent in front of your child, send pictures from events the other parent isn’t able to attend, keep photos of your child and the other parent around the house, etc. Your children will be much happier if they see the two of you getting along and working together as parents.

Try to Maintain Structure and Routine

Children thrive on routine and structure. There will naturally be differences between the parenting styles of Mom and Dad, but try to be consistent in certain key areas.

Bed time, meal times, chores, behavioral guidelines, and rules related to homework and schoolwork should be as consistent as possible. This gives kids a sense of security and makes transitioning from one home to another much easier, resulting in greater well-being.

Don’t Compete with One Another

Remember that you are not competing to be the better parent; you’re working together to be the best parenting team you can be.

Never speak negatively about your ex around your child, even if your child is singing their praises and it’s hurtful to you. If your child speaks negatively about the other parent, reprimand them rather than encouraging this behavior. Avoid blaming or accusing the other parent when something goes wrong for your child.

Don’t try to be the “cool” parent by showering your child with gifts or going on extravagant trips. In fact, engaging in simple, routine activities (such as family dinners) with the less seen parent is more beneficial for the child.

Don’t Give into Guilt

Sometimes, parents feel guilty about splitting up or about being less involved in their child’s life than they would like, and they begin to overindulge their child.

Don’t fall into this trap. As long as you and the other parent are working together for the benefit of your child, there’s nothing to feel guilty about. Overindulging your child will only lead to negative outcomes such as difficulty taking personal responsibility, lack of competence, and lack of empathy.

Don’t let your child use you and the other parent against one another or make you feel guilty in order to get what he or she wants. Try to parent exactly as you would if you and your co-parent were still together.

Following these four tips can result in healthy, positive, and successful co-parenting.

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