Learning to co-parent is difficult. There is a lot of underlying tension and past wrongs that can sour you and your co-parent’s relationship. However, working together as a team is what your child needs to develop properly. If you are struggling with co-parenting, here are some positive principles from the attorneys at Newport Divorce that are certified to help.
Co-parenting is when the two parents of a child decide to share custody of their children. This can happen when a couple gets divorced or splits up. Deciding to co-parent is a difficult decision that many couples decide to undertake. It provides their children with the ability to have both parents in their life and allows both parents to participate in major life events. However, co-parenting is not always easy and animosity/frustration can easily build to a boiling point. Thankfully, many parents have charred their positive principles of co-parenting so that you can be successful.
There are four main principles that co-parents have found to be successful; they are communication, consistency, and support. With these positive principles of co-parenting, you and your ex-partner can help your kids lead happy lives with both of their parents.
It may sound cliche but communication really is key. If both of you go into co-parenting with certain expectations, you need to voice them to your ex-partner. There should be clearly set boundaries, an open line of communication, and a willingness to listen to one another. You may have different parenting styles and different involvement levels, but there should be mutual respect that looks past your previous problems.
Compromise is one of the key components of communication. If you have respect for one another, and take the time to listen to your ex-partner you can typically reach a compromise on large issues without a problem. This open line of communication between you and your ex-partner makes it much easier to express your opinion and feel heard because you know that you will both determine the best solution.
In addition to communication, consistency is a big component of co-parenting. You and your ex-partner need to determine what rules, discipline, and schedule are appropriate prior to the start of your co-parenting. A schedule will include things such as who the kids will spend time with, when they will spend time with them, who will pick them up from school, who will take them to after-school activities, etc. Keeping a consistent schedule helps your child adjust to this new lifestyle as well. However, while a consistent schedule is what you should strive for, things will come up unexpectedly and you should be flexible. If work needs you to stay overtime, if you want to take the child on a vacation, or if you just want to take your child to their soccer game one day, you need to have the communication to express that. You also need the flexibility to accept these changes should your ex-partner ask for them.
Similarly, the rules and appropriate punishments for breaking rules should also be discussed prior to co-parenting. If your child is able to kick a ball around the house at one home, they may become confused as to why they are being disciplined at their other home for the same thing. This confusion can cause anxiety and lead to your child being overwhelmed with all the new changes in their life. This is why it is important to be able to maintain the same rules and appropriate discipline measures no matter whose house they are in.
You and your ex-partner are working together as a team. Even if you don’t like your teammates, you need to be able to put aside your differences and work together towards the same end goal—raising your child. That is why you need to be supportive of your ex-partner. It is unfair to your child, to put them in the middle of your arguments or disagreements. Even if you are not feeling very supportive or happy at the time, it is not ok to manipulate your child against their other parent.
It is also important to minimize the amount of conflict your child witnesses. You can have disagreements and argue with one another in an environment where your child will not see it. However, when you are in front of your child you need to eliminate any lingering tension and put on a united front. Similarly, you should make sure to respect each other’s time with the kids. If one parent is scheduled to have them over the weekend, you cannot spoil their time by intruding on it. Take the time you have with your child and let your ex-partner take theirs.
Navigating divorce and creating a custody agreement is a difficult and emotional time. The attorneys at Newport Divorce have worked with hundreds of couples and helped them create a plan that works. Whether you are getting a divorce, creating a custody/visitation agreement, or modifying an existing agreement, the lawyers at Newport Divorce are here to help. Contact our office (949) 752-2727 or visit our website to schedule a free consultation.