Co-parenting is a concept not a legal term, and relates to how parents effectively parent together for the child or children after divorce or separation. It can range from minor decisions to major decisions like what extra-curricular activities are my children going to partake in? What health decisions are made for the children. What religious upbringing we will choose.
In co-parenting, parents need to be able to make decisions together in order to achieve the best interest of their children. There is no reason that children from a split family can’t be just as healthy psychologically as those from an intact family. What impacts a child’s health is how the parents act together.
Co-parenting is good because it helps to create a sense of security for the children. When children feel that their parents are working together, communicating and making decisions for their best interest, they feel loved and are much more capable of coping with the divorce or separation of their parents. When parents agree to enforce similar rules in co-parenting, the children feel a sense of solidarity, and they feel that there’s consistency, and that makes them feel much more secure.
When parents are co-parenting they set a great example to the children. They see parents acting in a certain way, and they try to emulate and copy this type of behavior. There tend to be much fewer instances of children manipulating the situation and their parents as they believe they are a united front with similar goals in raising them.
Co-parenting is a new type of relationship and you need to keep a business-like rapport going on between the two of you. You want to be respectful. You want to request things from the other person and not demand. You want to put on your listening hat because both of you will have different ideas, and if you listen to one another, you can come up with some great ideas.
Always try to put your kids first. Although this can be difficult and you probably won’t be spending, quality time with your ex, it’s really important to show unity. For example, if your child has a soccer match, both parents should show up to the game and both cheer for the child. If your child is going to a gymnastics meet, and it’s not your visitation day, you still should show up for the gymnastics meet and show mutual respect for one another and get behind your children.
Never put your child in between. Never use your child as a messenger. Never say to your child, “Go and tell Daddy that Mommy said this,” or “Go and tell Mommy that Daddy wants you to pay child support.” This will undoubtedly cause your child to feel very, very upset. When couples do use this approach they almost always guarantee happier and more well-adjusted children. Not to mention the lower level of stress and anxiety between them and the ex.