what is co parenting

What is Co-Parenting? | Joint Custody Tips for Divorced Parents

Last Updated on April 24, 2022 by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt

Parenting is no simple task. Every parent can tell you that, but divorce has its way of impacting children. When going through a divorce, we think, “How will it affect my child or my children?”. So, what is co-parenting and here are how you can PREVENT any effects of your divorce from your children. There are tips and guidelines ahead to help you clear the path of parenthood for a smooth ride to your child’s Adulthood and independence.

Repairing the relationship with your Co-parent | What is Co-parenting

It takes two to tango is a proven cliche, and parenting is a two-person dance and should not fall into a solo act. Co-Parents have to share aspects of their child for the benefit of their child. That includes schooling, extracurricular activities, sports, or any kind of experience that costs.

As a child of divorce from a young age, I saw my mom taking complete responsibility for every aspect of my life and every part of my siblings’ lives. The divorce made me see my father as an outside figure instead of a male role model.

“How do you fix that?” You engage in your child’s life. Ask about their interests. Their hobbies and every good or bad part of their day or week should be shared you have not seen them recently.

Find a support network of like-minded parents

There will be guaranteed days when you feel as if everything you do is wrong(that’s normal).

  • Sharing your struggles with parenting friends (group of gal-pals or just a fun friend group who have kids)
  •  We forget that parents were before us, so ask your parent what they did and what their parents also did. 
  • With this NEWFOUND WISDOM, you can find the best approaches to deal with any challenging situations. 

PARENTING IS NOT EASY.

It will bring with it challenges you never thought you’d have to face

Communication with your Co-Parent

If you have shared custody and your child hurts. Contact your Co-Parent. If you take them to the doctor, your co-parent needs to know that information. Injuries and visits to the doctor can happen when their infants. Your Co-Parent will need to know the information of your child’s medical needs. 

IT IS VITAL TO HAVE REGULAR CHECK-INS TO TOUCH BASE (KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON IN YOUR CHILD’S LIFE)

If there are any sporting events or accomplishments:

  • Soccer match 
  • Baseball tournament
  • Football games 

Both parents should come to watch their child play. It invites a sense of unity into the child’s life, resulting in self-confidence from a young age.

Your child might not be able to quote philosophers, but they are not stupid. They will know that parents have disagreements and get mad. It is then VITAL to not badmouth your co-parent. Your child will create a negative image of your Co-Parent and become less obliging towards them.

Communication runs hand in hand with rules and discipline. There is a need to have a SET BEDTIME, BREAKFAST, AND FUN ACTIVITIES put in place. 

The parents need to work together to ensure that there aren’t any interruptions. Working together may be difficult when Co-parents have other partners. 

  • THE COMMITMENT TO YOUR CHILD IS YOUR FIRST PRIORITY AS A PARENT!

Trust!

The most important parts of relationships require trust and communication. Even if you despise your Co-Parent, you will inevitably put all the responsibility of parenting onto yourself without trust. 

DOING THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE! Both parents need to play active roles in their children(s) lives. Having been raised by a strong single mother without the active presence of my father, I can say with all confidence. MY MOTHER SHAPED MY MORALS AND GOALS.

Your Co-parent needs to trust you. 

Without that trust, you will either neglect your responsibility or put it all on yourself. Should this be the case, you need to return to the first tip and repair the broken relationship. 

Reaction V.S. Proaction | What is Co-Parenting?

Many parents base their approach to parenting their children on a reactive response. Instead of predicting actions. The detrimental downside: Anxiety, depression, eating disorders, anti-social behaviour, and substance abuse. (Dr. Laurence Steinberg wrote in his book The Ten Basic Principles of Good Parenting

It is impossible to predict everything that is going to happen in your children’s lives. However, it is not impossible to predict things every child of yours may encounter, such as substance abuse, anxiety, depression. Children today suffer the constant connection to the internet through Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media platforms. It is not a good strategy to monitor your child like a criminal. 

Approaches such as creating ‘SAFE AREAS’ in your home(s) are vital. 

A ‘safe area’ could mean that shared or communal living spaces must be areas in which your children can be themselves. They must not be discouraged from being who they are. That means not criticizing clothes, music, genres of movies, or books they read. Embrace the differences in your child instead of hiding them away.

In this way of accepting the differences in your child, they will approach you with difficulties they’re facing no matter how old they are.

Whether that’s financial, social, or any part of their life, this creates an ACTIVE ROLE in their life. They will be more likely to come to you with the problem(s) they might be facing.

Children as they grow up

It’s no mystery to parents that one day the tiny human who could barely fit into a small piece of material we call a onesie, and that little person is now of legal age or able to legally get married.

Irrespective of how old they currently are, the goal of parenting is to gift your child with the skills they will need in life. These skills include everything from doing taxes to changing the oil of a car. They are going to leave the nest at some point, and as a parent, you can teach them how to fly and create their own safe nest, or watch them fall out of your nest because they aren’t ready to fly even though their wings are big enough.

As parents, you need to teach your children ways to face everything life will throw at them. There is no more difficult task than getting a 12-year-old to do dishes and laundry.

I remember one day standing at the sink yelling, “I’m a child,” as I stood on a box to reach the sink. However, those skills have become embedded into my being. With those skills will come the responsibility attached to them.

Another example is when you need to do the laundry.

You don’t simply put your dirty clothes from the hamper into the machine. You hang them up to dry, fold them, and iron your clothes that need ironing.

  • Get your children to do their laundry.
  • They must hang their clothes up.

By giving them responsibility and agency, they will become more responsible. Soon they will do everything themselves.

If they know mom or dad won’t clean up after them, they will have two options:

  1. Live in just their clean clothes or possibly even dirty ones or learn how to do their laundry. That cannot be understated enough. DO NOT CLEAN UP THE MESS YOUR CHILD CREATES. Otherwise, they will think someone can always clean up after them.
  2. CLEAN UP. 

Children are not as dumb as we might believe. It is not that they are unresponsive. They associate cleaning with a necessary activity. If they learn someone else will do it for them, they will not do it. Regularly cleaning will come with discipline in multiple households.

Final Hack for Co-Parents | What is Co-parenting?

  • Be in their presence. Your child is that just they’re yours.

They have their own lives, of course, however, with your presence, not even necessarily talking to each other. 

It will provide comfort to them.

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