Co-parenting refers to an arrangement in which parents raise a child without maintaining their spousal or romantic relationship. In other words, though the parents of a child do not live together, they share responsibility for caring for the child. While this situation is not the ideal setup for raising children, many successful co-parenting strategies prioritize the child’s well-being while avoiding co-parenting problems. Here are some practical co-parenting tips for raising a happy, lucky child.
Co-Parenting 101 | What You Should Know
1. Always Communicate
Though you’re now living separate lives, co-parenting requires you to work together. Whether it’s through email, text, or meet-ups, communication is necessary if you want to create an atmosphere of stability. Send updates and discuss both short-term and long-term plans. Though it may seem difficult at the start, putting your child first will let him know that both parents greatly care about him.
2. Play Fair
Everyone knows that divorces can get messy, and sometimes, the child gets caught in the middle. Children from broken homes have higher chances of developing mental disorders and aggressive behavior. One way to minimize the emotional trauma is by leaving children out of altercations. Don’t talk badly about your ex to your child, and don’t try to turn him or her against your ex. Respect your co-parent and acknowledge that your child has a right to maintain a happy relationship with both of you.
3. Set the Logistics
According to a 2014 study, children who are given “sensitive caregiving” in early childhood attain higher academic achievements and maintain healthier relationships in later years. Of course, this is slightly harder to achieve in a co-parenting setup. When planning logistics, keep in mind that your child’s time doesn’t have to split 50/50 between the two of you. Instead, come up with a balanced schedule that will allow you to spend quality time with the child.
4. Be Consistent
It’s possible that your co-parent will have a different parenting style when it’s their turn with the child. However, you need to agree on certain boundaries and guidelines for both households. Implement these rules by setting similar reward or punishment systems, if necessary. As a result, children will have no confusion about behavior expected of them.
5. Don’t Spoil
— Ethan & Emma (@EthanAndEmma_US) September 10, 2017
In an attempt to be the “cool” parent, you may be tempted to indulge or spoil your child. While this may seem to earn your child’s favor in the present moment, this is a selfish tactic that hinders your child’s personal growth. Julie Lythcott-Haims, the former Dean of Freshman of Stanford University, says that children who do chores become more successful adults than those who don’t. A divorce is tough on kids, but it doesn’t mean you can put the brakes on discipline.
6. Be Good Role Models
Whether you like it or not, your child looks up to you. Children observe and emulate patterns of behavior from their parents. If you want your child to develop lifelong values, you and your co-parent need to practice what you preach. Apart from telling kids not to do this or that, you must be aware of your speech, attitudes, and actions.
Want to learn more? Check out this video to learn more co-parenting tips for raising successful kids:
Co-parenting is no easy task. Divorce completely uproots the lives that you, as a family, had built. However, your decision to separate does not make you a bad parent. Often, for children, having divorced but happy parents is better than living in a consistently hostile environment. No matter what happens, your child is always the priority, and his needs come first. As long as you are determined to provide love and care for your child, you and your co-parent will always find a way.
Do you have experiences with co-parenting? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Share your experiences in the comments section below.