- 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.
Most Common Co-Parenting Mistakes
- 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. Your child should not be responsible for communication between parents.
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. It also lets them know 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
Email is an excellent option as the preferred method of communication. Just remember to keep all messages short, informational and limited to something pertaining to the children. Examples may include medical/educational issues 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 a custody calendar computer programs or an app to record special family events, school, extracurricular activities and doctor appointments. This helps ensure everyone has access to dates important to the co-parenting process. It also helps eliminate the phrases such as, “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 may have a complaint about the other but maintaining respect is a key to successful co-parenting.
Set aside the anger, disappointment, hurt and rage that stems from the broken relationship. 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.
Finally, work to have consistency in rules between parents. If this isn’t possible, help your children understand that rules must be obeyed in each household, just as different rules are obeyed at day care or school and at home.
Engage Additional Resources
For practical tips for adjusting to the changes in your life, check out our related article 6 Ways to Help You Improve How You Navigate Change.