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7 proven tips to make co-parenting successful

by Vidya Sury June 26, 2016 19 comments
7 proven tips to make co-parenting successful

At the best of times, parenting is not a smooth ride and neither is co-parenting. It involves keeping your cool when you really want to … ah, never mind. Surely you have your own imagination! You know what I mean. It means a lot of forced “zen” for both Mom and Dad.

What about when parents decide they no longer get along and want to separate? The first thing we think about when we hear of such a situation is: What about the children? That’s what I thought when we heard that a close relative and her husband are going through the pain of divorce.

Tough scene – forced arranged marriage, they tried to make it work – and also tried counseling, but sometimes, no matter what one does, things are just not meant to be. Finally, it seemed like the most peaceful thing to do was to go their separate ways.

Oh yes, what about the children?

As I mentioned before, parenting can be difficult even when the load is shared by a co-parent or partner. Anyone who has been through a breakup with a parent will know how hard it can be to transition from living together to having separate lives.

Divorce may seem like a bad word. It certainly isn’t what two people who are married and love one another want. However, life has a way of throwing those curveballs and it is best to ease into that phase without lugging along the anger and frustrations that come with it. I have friends who are amicable divorcees and manage their relationship with each other and their children quite well.

How did they start embracing the co-parenting relationship? When asked, these are the tips they had to offer.

7 proven tips for successful co-parenting

  • Communicate honestly, but tactfully

Be honest, but try to keep your conversations relevant to parenting topics. You were in a relationship with this person, there are likely plenty of things you could talk about. Keeping the conversation focused on parenting topics will help save you both the stress of habitually unpacking issues.

  • Sometimes it’s best to bite your tongue completely

There will obviously be some things your co-parent does that irritate you – which is why you split in the first place, but don’t necessarily impact your kids or parenting relationship. Pick your battles with your co-parent. If something isn’t a big deal, trying to let it go might be the best way.

It can be understandably strange and frustrating – not to mention annoying – to have to deal with sharing your children’s schedule with someone who hasn’t integrated with your daily routines anymore. Making a conscious choice early in the process to establish a system for agreeing upon weekly schedules will help avoid more stress than you can imagine.

Stick to the agreed-upon schedule to the best of your ability, and be flexible if your co-parent needs to make occasional adjustments so your co-parent is more likely to work with you if you need occasional scheduling changes. What goes around…

  • Make a routine out of saying and doing nice things for your co-parent

Make a point to say positive (or even just neutral) things to your kids about your co-parent. If kids won’t see their other parent for more than a couple of days, encourage them to write notes or draw pictures to give the other parent. This is especially helpful if things are tense between you, but fosters healthy compassion in co-parenting relationships even when things are going well. Yes, it will take some effort, but it will be well worth it.

  • If you have more than one child make sure each kid gets some one-on-one time with both of you

When you are parenting multiple children from different homes, it can be very difficult to manage schedules to allow for any child to spend extended one-on-one time with you or your co-parent. It is easier to take space and time with one child when you live with the other parent, but it is important for kids of all ages to have the opportunity to spend some time alone with their parents.

One-on-one time allows your kids the opportunity to discuss things with you they may feel uncomfortable discussing in front of siblings. You cannot predict whether your children will feel more comfortable talking to you or their other parent about a particular topic. It’s best to just provide the space for them to open up when they need to.

Child custody lawyers are not just for crises and conflicts. They are experts in many steps in legal situations that are similar to yours. Having someone to help navigate conversations and decisions is important even when things are going well in your co-parenting relationship.

  • Keep negative emotions about your co-parent away from the kids

Your kids are impacted by everything you and your co-parent say. It’s important to stay mature when you talk about your co-parent with your kids. Remember, they love both of you and they need you to help them through this.

Building and maintaining relationships is no cakewalk. But to a large extent, we can make things work by being compassionate and understanding.

What do you think?

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Alok Singhal June 27, 2016 at 11:25 pm

Very well said, ma’am. Practical tips!
Alok Singhal recently posted…United States Botanic Garden, Washington DC

Vidya Sury July 7, 2016 at 8:11 pm

Thank you Alok!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Rain rain don’t go away!

Obsessivemom June 29, 2016 at 5:59 am

This is perhaps the hardest thing of all – to strike a balance and be a happy co-parent, to focus beyond your differences with your partner for the benefit of your child. You made some sensible points there.
Obsessivemom recently posted…When Chalk and Cheese decide to mix

Vidya Sury July 7, 2016 at 11:04 pm

Thank you Tulika. Separation is always sad. Adjusting to life afterward especially when there are children is difficult.
Vidya Sury recently posted…21 easy ways to make you feel instantly happy

Rachna Parmar June 29, 2016 at 12:15 pm

Good tips there. I have seen some bitter battles especially when one parent is a real jerk and the other had to tolerate the tantrums for the sake of custody arrangement. Broken relationship and bitterness and then to see the same person and interact with them amicably for the sake of children is really tough.
Rachna Parmar recently posted…Life and Times with the Younger Son

Vidya Sury July 7, 2016 at 11:09 pm

Yeah, that’s true Rachna. Some people have the sense to control their own feelings but I guess it is never easy. But I have seen amicable couples too, who continue to remain friends and hang out with mutual friends – I don’t know how they do it. Thank you for commenting. I always worry for the children.
Vidya Sury recently posted…Tuned In To the Positive #Gratitude

Birgit June 29, 2016 at 7:26 pm

These are great tips if both parents are mature and responsible but, unfortunately, some parents are horrible. Just last night, right across the street from where we live, 2 cop cars were parked and everyone was out in the yard with 5 small kids( who were running around everywhere and could have easily been snatched) while the police were talking. My brother tried his best with his 2nd ex to be mature but his ex would bad mouth him and create so many issues. Thankfully my brother never spoke ill about his ex to his daughter. Now? He has a wonderful relationship with his daughter and my niece, now, has nothing to do with her mom and has not spoken with her in 4 years. It is a shame but I know something happened which involved abuse but not sure what. She is a great girl but she is very, very private. Time will tell but I wish people would be mature and have a positive mental outlook then the children wouldn’t hurt so.
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Vidya Sury July 7, 2016 at 11:13 pm

How sad, Birgit. Does she miss her Mom? That would be just so awful. Your brother is a good, compassionate man. It takes a lot of strength not to speak ill of someone even if it were true. Far too easy to say nasty things than be quiet – I guess most people whose relationship bombs feel like victims and have a need to justify themselves. Sigh. Thank you for your comment. Breaking up is always hard on everyone involved.
Vidya Sury recently posted…Rain rain don’t go away!

Morgan July 5, 2016 at 11:48 pm

These are really good guidelines to follow when you’re co-parenting. It can certainly be a tough adjustment for everyone involved, but there are definitely some things that can be done to make it a little easier on everyone. Nice work. Thanks for sharing!

Vidya Sury July 7, 2016 at 11:13 pm

Thank you Morgan.
Vidya Sury recently posted…Because We Are Best Friends Forever

Erenia July 11, 2016 at 8:37 am

Hi Surya, what one must do when an ex constantly files petitions to a court with threats of changing my custody. I four years he had minimum contact with my son. After four years passed, then through the courts now he has rights. Yet, he bully me financially and now me and my child live under the poverty guideline. Not to mention that he has a reckless background of drugs possession, more than five DUI’ and domestic violence, stole my csr, my credit cards. I am spanish and he is white

Vidya Sury July 15, 2016 at 11:07 pm

Dear Erenia, I am sorry to hear about your situation. I can imagine how hard it must be, and the stress you must be going through. Have you tried to get legal advice? I think a lawyer is in the best position to advice you, as she would know how to deal with it. Love and hugs to you.
Vidya Sury recently posted…No Wires Attached, But Connected

Erenia July 11, 2016 at 8:42 am

And, I have no criminal background, nor I have ever abused my child. All I have done in my life was to get an education, work, and be a great mother. My child is six now and his grades are all excellent. I feel as though I have been unjustly abused by the court system.Thank you. Erenia

compareboss July 13, 2016 at 5:36 pm

Very well said vidya ji I love your blog, it’s packed with contents. It gives a wealth of information on various topics. Really Awesome this post is a complete detailed guide I will share your post on my blog and I have book mark it. Thanks

Vidya Sury July 15, 2016 at 10:54 pm

Thank you!
Vidya Sury recently posted…No Wires Attached, But Connected

Zoe Campos August 26, 2020 at 7:25 pm

Thanks for reminding me that I should always say something positive about my husband when my child is around even if we decided to separate. We talked last week and decided that it would be better to file for divorce, and we mutually respected this decision. It might be a good idea to talk to a divorce mediator as early as now so we can start preparing our daughter for this huge change.

Diane Price October 26, 2020 at 10:35 am

Co-parenting as a divorced couple can be challenging for some, so posts like this are great to read. Thanks for sharing.

parenting skills February 10, 2021 at 2:24 pm

Get started when he’s a newborn; babies love listening to the sound of their parents’ voices. Cuddling up with your child and a book is a great bonding experience that will set him up for a lifetime of reading.

Darpan February 21, 2021 at 5:44 pm

Very much said vidya Ji I love your blog, it’s loaded with content. It gives an abundance of data on different themes. Truly Awesome this post is a finished point-by-point control I will share your post on my blog and I have bookmarked it. Much obliged
Darpan recently posted…How to Concentrate on Studies


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