We all hear of couples who split up but still have to look out for their kids together, this practice is known as co-parenting. We are going to be very honest here, and it takes a lot on both sides of the parents to be successful at co-parenting.
For them to get to a point where they can say they have succeeded at co-parenting, they must put in a lot of hardworking and time. For some parents, they are getting it right step by step, and however, for other parents, they suck at co-parenting.
In order to succeed at this, you need to focus on what is working and neglect what is not working. This means that you need to overlook the fact that you had a failed relationship with your ex and move on with the fact that you both now have a kid or kids to take care of.
For you to have a healthy co-parenting relationship with your ex, you need to ensure you work on the following:
1. You must set clear boundaries
Working together with your ex as Co-parents will become much easier if you both set clear boundaries. You must recognise what you have control over and what you don’t have a say in anymore as regards your ex and your kids.
For example, you can no longer control who your partner goes out on a date with or who they see. It is no longer in your place to do that anymore. Even if that person eventually becomes your child’s stepmom or dad, you have no control over their love life.
The only way you can have a say in that is if it is written in the US today agreement you both signed. However, if it isn’t, then you have no right over the relationship. Leave what you can’t control alone and focus on what you can.
You can, however, control how your child or children see you by setting a good example for them to understand and emulate. By showing that you are an adult capable of handling disappointments and failures, you are teaching them how to take responsibility for themselves.
2. You must have a predetermined schedule
It becomes easier for couples to be successful at co-parenting when there is already a predetermined and a predefined schedule. Having an unstable kind of arrangement will not only make you both unsuccessful as co-parents, but it will also confuse the lives of the kid or kids you have in between you both.
Having a jiffy or an instant impromptu arrangement once in a while due to your job or any other demanding aspect of your life is understandable, however, do not make it a habit. Your child or children should be your top priority and creating a schedule for them shows them just that.
3. You must be willing to be flexible
While having to stick to a plan is right, there are times when you may need to be able to break forth from your schedule and be flexible. We understand that there may have been a series of circumstances that could have surrounded your split from your partner.
However, maturity occurs when you don’t let those factors affect the new co-parenting relationship with your partner. As much as you would like your partner to be accommodating to you, you also need to extend the same courtesy with him or her.
Even if you notice that he or she is still not extending that kind of relationship with you, however, you must continue to do that which is right by accommodating them and also demonstrating to them how you would want the relationship to go. It is better than having to cause a rift or fight between you and your ex. Remember, a fight will affect them negatively.
4. You must always call each other concerning the welfare of your child
For you to have a successful co-parenting relationship, whenever your child or children is concerned, you must always take no chances. You must ensure you work together very well when it comes to making decisions concerning your child.
For example, before leaving your child with the babysitter, ensure you call your partner and vice versa. Doing this is common courtesy. You don’t just assume that your partner is busy before dropping the child off at the daycare centre or before leaving the child with the babysitter.
No, you must ensure that you ask your partner if he or she is free to be with the child or children before you begin to think of the babysitter.
5. You must make a conscious effort to always reach an agreement with your partner on relevant issues
Honestly, no two parents agree on the same things all the time when it comes to matters concerning the children. However, while it is good to have an opinion and a voice, it is more critical for you to ensure that you both reach an agreement and a favourable conclusion when it comes to making decisions concerning your wards.
Most successful co-parents have learnt to put their issues sides and work together for the sake of their children. It is essential to come to a collaborative decision concerning issues such as the health of your kids, issues regarding discipline, their education, as well as their spiritual upbringing (that is if you both have religious beliefs).
In some cases, some co-parents have a written down a plan which has helped them communicate. However, if this doesn’t work for you both, you can as well sit down in the same room, discuss and reach essential conclusions about your wards.
6. You must make no attempt to manipulate each other
Attempting to manipulate your partner’s decision especially as co-parents is a no-no action if you want to be successful at it. Parents who have been successful at co-parenting have learnt to communicate, and likewise respect each other’s decisions especially as regards their wards.
Do not try to manipulate your kid’s allegiance and loyalty toward you. Doing this absolutely means you have no respect for your partner and you may as well sue for child custody. However, if you still want to be a co-parenting, you must recognise the need for the presence of your partner in the life of your kids.
It is okay for your children to love you both as co-parents. The love they have for your partner doesn’t threaten your existence or your affection in their lives and heart respectively.
7. You must talk to each other about any sudden schedule changes
If you want to be successful at co-parenting, whenever there is a last minute change in decisions as regarding your wards, learn to pick up that phone and call your partner informing them of the changes and the reason for the changes.
Before even having to inform your children about the change in decision, venue or any other pre-planned agreements, you must call your partner and inform them.
Don’t leave them in the dark before involving the kids. Doing this will mean going against the 6th rule intentionally. Have your partner involved first and present a united front in the presence of your kids and watch your kids love and emulate you both.
8. You must be united in the presence of your kids
Remember, your child looks at you as role models and so you must work together as one in their presence. Working together can only be done after you succeed at communicating excellently with each other.
Having to communicate or agree with each other doesn’t mean you can’t air your opinions or voice out your displeasure over individual decisions. However, you both must be able to disagree to agree. You also must be able to handle decisions with maturity.
Ensure you respect each other in the presence of the kids and this would teach the children to respect you both either in your presence or in your absence. Also, this would also help bridge the gap between you and your partner.
9. You must both be able to attend school functions and any other extracurricular events without having unnecessary tension
The fact you both are not together doesn’t mean that you can’t both attend your children’s function either birthday parties, school events or any other pre-planned event. To be successful at co-parenting, you must be able to stand the presence of the other party without having any problems or arguments.
Most successful co-parents have no issues at all attending functions with themselves because they are putting the interests of their children first and their interests as well as what people think of them last because for them, their children are their priorities.
10. You must recognise the other partner as a necessary, significant and vital part of your children’s lives
Whether you like it or not, that ex-partner of yours is the other parent of your child. Understanding this fact will also help you know that you can’t help but recognise their influence in the life of your child.
You must recognise how significant the presence of your other partner is. You must work hard to get to the extent that you both communicate so well. You must get to the point where you can work with each other excellently without having to be at loggerheads with each other.
Being a co-parent might be hard especially if the reason why you two broke up is too depressing for you to deal with. We understand that it is hard enough already; however, you must try to always put the interest of your child or children first at heart even before your pain.
You must be willing to overlook the past and work towards the future of your kids. The stability of your wards depends on how well you can communicate with your partner, remember that.