Maybe you read this title and immediately cringed. Or perhaps this sent you into a dancing fit in the kitchen, baking a storm of cookies and cakes for whomever will eat them.
I used to be this person. There is nothing wrong with being here because co-parenting can feel like an endless
filled with hurt feelings
and misunderstood intentions
I get you because of my years of experience as a co-parent (8 and counting). What I have learned is that it is one of the most important relationships in my life. It is the one that requires an intense amount of work and nurture if you want anything good to come of it. I know … it sounds a bit like marriage.
Creating positive co-parenting partnerships can be challenging, but the rewards are worth the effort. When parents are able to work together and successfully raise their children it creates a stable foundation for the whole family. Plus, it helps the kids feel secure knowing that their parents are still connected. And it’s a win-win for the parents too – they can learn to communicate better and practice problem-solving together.
But co-parenting is more than just agreeing to take care of the kids together (but in separate homes). It means discussing important topics such as parenting styles, discipline, financial responsibility, and more. And it means staying connected so everyone is on the same page. So often, it’s about putting the children first and responding to their unique needs. Of course, many parents struggle with this because of the hurt left over from the marriage or partnership. This is normal because you are human – and you’re likely healing. During this time period, give yourself the grace to allow for an imperfect version of co-parenting. This may look like texting through a parenting app or meeting somewhere neutral for drop-offs. It may eventually move into texting from your phone and actually picking-up at the other parent’s home. Wherever you begin, know that co-parenting takes time and a lot of self-love.
Hot Tips for Healthy Co-Parenting
You may be looking for some of my top tips (and I have a few) for creating a healthy co-parenting partnership. Here you go:
1. Constantly work to improve the wellbeing of yourself and your child. When co-parents are able to set aside their differences and make their children the priority, it can lead to a healthier and more secure environment for the children.
2. Grow healthy communication skills. Working together to overcome obstacles can help to foster improved communication skills that can be beneficial to the parents in all areas of their lives.
3. Be solution-seekers. Co-parents can learn how to effectively solve conflicts together, benefiting both the couple and their children.
4. Nurture a positive home environment (at both homes). When co-parents are able to see the bigger picture and prioritize their children, it can lead to a more peaceful and positive home environment for the kids.
5. Build a strong support systems. Lean into your friends and family for support. Find groups of like-minded individuals that you find a spark of commonality with. This can lead to more stable long-term relationships and a healthier overall family dynamic for you (and ultimately your kids).
6. Remind each other (and yourself if your co-parent can’t hear you) that your decision should be grounded in what is best for your children. When you begin to remind yourself of this, begin your sentences with this in mind, then small shifts begin to occur in the co-parenting relationship.
The most important piece to remember is that all relationships require lots of positive attention and care. What you put into your co-parenting partnership is truly what you’ll get out of it. When you communicate with respect and grace, then you will also receive this (or a form of it). When you ignore the co-parent and make decisions in isolation, then you can likely expect the same in return.
For more holistic support in your co-parenting journey, please reach out to me. I’m here to support you in your journey – where ever you are and with all the feelings that come with it. If you find value in this article, please do all the things (like, share, comment).