A common concern for divorcing parents is how they will continue to parent after the divorce. One option, co-parenting, is an effective approach where the parents prioritize the needs of the children and continue to parent the children together, even though they are no longer a couple.
Co-parenting is effective but, like any parenting arrangement, can present difficulties every now and then. There is nothing to be concerned about unless there is abuse or illegal activity involved. If the parents are committed to communicating openly, collaborating with each other and being honest with one another, it is highly likely that co-parenting will work.
People make mistakes sometimes and the parents may have the occasional argument or fight. However, that does not mean that co-parenting did not work. Conflict is a natural part of life, and when the family looks at conflict that way, they are better prepared to manage it when it comes.
Co-parenting has many benefits, especially for the children. Research has shown that even in high-conflict couples, co-parenting can be effective, is possible, and the children fare better than other children whose parents choose other post-divorce parenting strategies. However, you have to do what works for you and your family.
Additional benefits of co-parenting
- A stronger bond between parents and child.
- An excellent example of healthy communication and collaboration.
- The opportunity to show your children how to solve conflict without fighting.
- Flexibility between the parents so they can both also have personal lives.
It is important to remember that co-parenting does not necessarily mean you and your former spouse must be best friends. You can and should both find a balance that works for you so the two of you feel comfortable with the arrangement.
Other important things to remember
- Your children are not your emotional crutch. Seek support from other adults.
- Do not speak ill of the other parent to your child or children.
- Never make your child feel like they must choose between one parent or the other.
Co-parenting is a successful approach when done so mindfully and when the parents are both committed to collaborating with each other.
Divorce is difficult, and child custody issues tend to complicate divorce further. However, taking a co-parenting approach allows the parents to make their own rules because they know their children best, and they can make decisions based on what works best for themselves.