More and more parents are opting for co-parenting after a divorce. Co-parenting is a term for the situation in which parents have divided the care and upbringing duties after the divorce. The parents usually live fairly close to each other and the children live approximately the same time with both parents. A divorce is a major event that is accompanied by many emotions for both parent and child. But how do you properly shape co-parenting?
Good communication is the basis for successful co-parenting. Even in difficult times, keep putting the children’s interests first in communication. Stay friendly and respectful to each other and talk well about each other. The effect of talking badly about the other parent is that a child may get the feeling of having to take sides and comes into a loyalty conflict. Trust each other as a parent. There are several ways of good parenting, trust your ex-partner in this.
Space for emotions
Co-parenting is often started in an emotionally difficult period. Both for parent and child. Give your child the space to express emotions and give them the feeling that emotions may be there. It can seem as if a child has little trouble with the divorce. Reasons for this could be that a child has difficulty expressing his emotions or is trying to not to worry you as a parent. Be alert to signals for this, invite to talk about it or read about it together. Sometimes children show unwanted behavior based on their emotions. Without ignoring the emotion that caused the behavior, you can correct it. Even as a parent it can be very difficult to deal with your own emotions. It is good to find an outlet and discuss your emotions with others. It is important not to burden your child with this.
Clarity and agreements
Clear agreements provide guidance and safety for a child. Certainly in the beginning, a weekly or day planner can be very helpful in creating predictability. Overarching basic rules that apply in both households, for example about the evening schedule, make it easier for a child to transition to the other parent. However, there may also be quite a difference and parents can have their own style in addition to the basic rules in other rules. In making agreements it can help to see your ex-partner as a business partner in order to keep emotions out of decision-making. Be flexible on the other hand, especially for a somewhat older child it is nice to be able to visit the other parent in “your time”.
Co-parenting does not work in all cases. Both parents must be motivated and support the choice. Sometimes a child turns out not to be able to miss a parent for that long and an equal distribution of care tasks is therefore not feasible. Are you considering a co-parenting? Then it is advisable to ask for support from a mediator or specialist in order to come to good mutual agreements. Many books have also been written on this subject, which can provide tools for jointly shaping co-parenting.