Keeping Co-Parenting Positive
Parenting can be challenging under the best of circumstances. When parents are divorced and need to continue to parent the children they share, the complexities of the adult relationship can interfere with the shared goals of raising healthy children. Here are some tips to help divorced parents raise children together in a more loving, supportive and productive fashion.
Effective co-parenting involves allowing children to love and respect both parents. Refrain from demeaning or criticizing your former partner directly or to friends, family and your children. If your ex does or says something of which you do not approve, respond by saying that you see things differently rather than making it about disliking or disapproving of your ex.
Being generous with time-sharing
If your ex requests extra hours, days or vacation time, say yes if it is at all possible. Create an environment of cooperation by being flexible and accommodating. If your ex does not compensate you in return for the extra time or refuses to conform to the agreed upon schedule, speak with your attorney or mediator.
Honoring rules, schedule and discipline
Parents are not required to maintain exactly the same set of rules in both homes, but it is crucial that one parent not undermine the authority of the other. If a child loses computer privileges in one home, honor the ban in both homes so the lesson is not wasted by means of inconsistent parenting.
Maintaining focus on the children
When confronting an issue with your children — such as trouble in school, depression or acting-out behaviors — avoid blaming the other parent and stay focused on resolving the issue. Caring for your children might require attendance at school meetings or meeting with your child’s therapist or physician. In the spirit of cooperative parenting, do whatever it takes to help your child, even at the expense of your own comfort.
Your family law attorney can assist you with creating and implementing an effective parenting plan during your divorce to ensure that you and your ex continue to cooperate in the work of raising your shared children.