Parenting is a highly rewarding yet challenging task, and it only gets more complicated when you have to co-parent says Jonah Engler. Whether you have recently gone through a divorce or split from your partner, parenting your children in this new dynamic can be anxiety-inducing. However, you’re not alone in this. There are several parents who successfully co-parent and raise beautiful children.
The co-parenting relationship is all about your children. Your child is at the center of this relationship, so whatever is in their best interest should always take precedence over anything else. In this article, we will share practical advice with you to help navigate co-parenting. Let’s dive right in!
1. Make a Parenting Plan Together
The first thing that you need to do is sit together and talk it out. Talk about your expectations from this dynamic and the things that you absolutely can’t compromise on. Then, create a parenting plan together that accommodates both of your needs and expectations as best as possible. The more structure you have, the easier it would be to navigate this relationship.
It is important to address all the concerns you might have about your children’s upbringing. Talk and come to an agreement on how you envision your child’s life to be. Make sure there is a fair distribution of responsibilities of care and upbringing. The most important thing is to set ground rules. Rules allow you to have a structure and be accountable. The more clarity you have on expectations and responsibilities, the easier it would be to have a smooth experience.
2. Establish Boundaries
It is extremely important to establish boundaries when co-parenting with an ex-partner. You may not be used to being a single parent, but this is the time to learn. If you create a parenting plan together and one parent doesn’t follow through with it, make sure you call them out and hold them responsible explains Jonah Engler.
Do not take more responsibility than originally established unless it is a special or emergency case. Make sure your co-parenting relationship doesn’t infringe on your personal life. It can be difficult to set and understand these boundaries in the beginning, but you’ll thank yourself for establishing them as you go along. Remember that co-parenting is a lifetime commitment, so it is best not to let yourself burn out.
3. Respect Each Other and Establish ‘Professionalism’
Being ‘professional’ may sound odd at first because you have known your ex-partner and shared a life with them in the past. However, the nature of your relationship simply isn’t intimate anymore. Therefore, you must hold your ground and maintain a relationship of respect and professionalism.
It is important to show respect for your ex-partner regardless of your history because they are your children’s parents as well. If your children grow up seeing a respectful relationship between the two of you, they will also acquire a healthier outlook of relationships and life in general says Jonah Engler. If there is tension or disruption between two parents, it can adversely affect your children’s emotional and mental wellbeing,
4. Communicate, Communicate, and Communicate
Just like any other relationship, communication is key in a co-parenting relationship. If you have any concerns or issues, always address them directly. Instead of being passive-aggressive or dragging your kids in the middle, it is important that you both sit down and talk it out.
We highly recommend bi-monthly or quarterly ‘parenting check-ins’ with your ex-partner. These meetings can be an opportunity to evaluate how things are going and what you can do better for your children explains Jonah Engler.
Co-parenting can be a tough job when you’re new at it. However, if you work as a team of professionals, you can easily navigate it successfully.