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4 Fundamentals to Effective Co-Parenting After Divorce


4 Fundamentals of Coparenting After Divorce
Dr. Tabitha Johnson was recently featured on WJXT Channel 4’s Morning Show. The video is available below, as well as additional tips and information.

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Managing parenting with your ex-spouse can be a challenge. But researchers have discovered that there are positive benefits for children when both parents can play active role in their children’s day-to-day lives and can cooperate together.
Research has shown that some of the benefits of co-parenting include:
  • Greater paternal involvement.
  • Greater emotional & economic stability.
  • Children continue relationships with both parents.
  • Children are less likely to feel torn between their parents.
  • Children are less likely to feel abandoned.
  • Children are less likely to feel they have to meet the social and emotional needs of their parents.
Biggest mistakes parents make when co-parenting:
  • Putting your child in the middle of disagreements.
  • Making negative comments or arguing when children are present.
  • Sending messages through your child.
    • Instead, communicate directly with your former spouse.
    • Handle child support and other financial issues with the other parent, a mediator, or the legal system, not through your child.

4 Fundamentals to Effective Co-Parenting After Divorce

  • Parents are involved in their children’s lives
    • Children benefit when they have relationships with both parents
    • Engage in family activities–through occasional meals together, birthday parties, sports and school events.
      • This reassures the children that although you don’t live together, you are still working together to make sure they are okay, and that it’s okay to love both parents.


  • Parents consider one another’s parenting needs
    • Be flexible and fair. Sometimes, unexpected situations arise that may require some flexibility in how shared parenting is carried out day to day. Be willing to trade some responsibilities or time with the other parent when needed.


  • Parents communicate constructively with one another in matters related to their children
    • I suggest email as the preferred communication device, but remember to keep all messages short, informational and limited to something pertaining to the children’s medical/educational issues, and/or a detail pertaining to an upcoming custody exchange. Remember, every email could be used as a possible exhibit in a future custody dispute.
    • Consider using one of the custody calendar computer programs or apps available to record special family events, school, extracurricular activities and doctor appointments to eliminate the phrases, “You didn’t tell me,” “You didn’t remind me” and “I didn’t know” from the vocabulary of the parent who fails to show up at an important event.


  • Parents put aside their anger and hostility and cooperate for the sake of their children
    • Respect–treat your former spouse with respect, even if you disagree with him or her. Each parter has their own complains about the other.
      • Set aside the anger, disappointment, hurt and rage. Those feelings are for you to deal with in a therapy office and with your supportive friends and family.
      • Always provide a united front to the important people in your child’s life — teachers, tutors, coaches and parents of your child’s close friends. It should never be about you proving to that third party that you are the “better” parent.
    • Work to have consistency in rules.
      • Try to provide consistency in rule-setting. If this isn’t possible, I will help my children understand that rules must be obeyed in each household, just as different rules are obeyed at day care or school and at home.
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