Co-Parenting Tips to Live By

Co-parenting after a divorce can be a difficult task for any parent. There are often reasons for your separation that could make co-parenting challenging, such as communication struggles or disagreements on lifestyle choices. Here are some things to keep in mind when co-parenting that could create a more positive situation for both you as a parent and your children.

Create an Open Dialogue

You are likely never going to agree 100% of the time because you are human. The important thing is to commit to discussion and communication no matter what. While you are no longer a couple, you still belong to a family unit and dialogue is key to supporting that unit.

Update Each Other

Keep in touch with one another about how things are going both with the kids and the parts of your lives that pertain to your family unit. For example, update your ex-spouse if your finances change, you need to move, or you need to adjust a schedule for one of the children.

Be Flexible

Put the kids first when opportunities arise to be flexible. If there is an event that one parent may want to bring the kids to, but it falls on the other’s time, talk about it. Be open to trade-offs for both parents.

Create the Same Rules

Both parents should agree on rules and a standard of behavior for the kids in both homes. Without continuity between the households, tension may rise between the children and parents. Having equal expectations of the kids throughout the family unit, regardless of which home they are in, could help foster respect for both parents.

Communicate Directly

Avoid making the children the go-between when making plans or communicating with your co-parent. They should not have to be involved in making decisions with the parental unit, and it could lead to misunderstandings and conflict.

Share Big Moments

When something exciting happens, include your co-parent in that moment so they don’t miss out on the children’s milestones or accomplishments. Send them a picture or text if the child does something great at school or has good news on a day that the kids are at your house.

Speak Positively

No matter what, a divorce can be painful, especially when you have to co-parent. It is important to talk kindly about your ex in front of your kids. Children deserve to see both of their parents in a positive light and feel supported.

Respect Their Time

Respect your co-parent’s time with the kids as you would want them to respect yours. No matter what the custody arrangement between the two of you is, the time allotted for each parent with their kids is valuable, and they deserve to spend it with them. Allow them the space to do that.

Set Behavior Expectations and Boundaries

What values do you want to instill within your children? What things are non-negotiable for you in raising your kids? It is important to have these conversations and make sure you agree.

Present a United Front

While you are no longer a couple, you are still a parenting unit and should continue to operate as one for your kids. Always work together and make sure that your kids know you are still on the same team.

It is important to work through these types of issues when co-parenting to put the needs of the children first. It requires a commitment from both parents, but the result is vital for maintaining a healthy and supportive environment for your children.

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