amilies come in many forms, and two parents can find themselves raising a child together after divorce or even without ever being married at all. Despite not being romantically involved, it is necessary to learn to co-parent together. According to HelpGuide.org, kids develop better self-esteem when they experience love from both parents. Additionally, poor co-parenting can result in your child experiencing anxiety or problems in school.
If you do not live with your child’s other parent, the rules and routines at each parent’s home need to be similar. Consistency is beneficial for your child, and having vastly different rules in different places can be confusing and cause him to feel less secure. Knowing what to expect when he spends time with each parent can also help him to adjust emotionally in the case of a recent divorce.
Talk with your child’s other parent to reach mutual agreements for rules and standards for your child. Ideally, according to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension office, you should both have the same values and goals for your child, even if you value different skills for your child. Because you will both need to make shared decisions when it comes to big decisions in your child’s life, put your child’s needs first.
Conflict is a normal part of adult relationships, especially in the case of co-parenting. More important than the conflict itself is the way you and your child’s other parent work to resolve the issue. This will allow your child to see examples of mature problem-solving. When conflicts arise, compromise while expecting that your co-parent is not going to think exactly like you do. Avoid putting each other down, especially in front of your child. The inability to resolve conflict can result in one parent becoming detached from the parenting process, which harms your child more than it harms anyone else.
Because every family is different and every child has changing needs, the way that you co-parent together is an ongoing process that might need to be adjusted repeatedly. If you feel you and your child’s other parent are struggling with the co-parenting process, or if you have trouble trusting the other parent, speak with a professional counselor.