Parenting is a complex challenge. It can be hard to navigate school schedules, daily activities, providing healthy meals, help with homework, (the list that keeps on going..) and to ensure that your child is healthy - both physically and emotionally. Then let's add two different households with separate rules, traditions and communication patterns to the mix! It is HARD to co-parent.
Parenting can be challenging in a two parent household, nonetheless when attempting to parent after a separation or a divorce. It is sometimes difficult to put aside past relationship difficulties with the other parent. When we put our children first, they are likely to feel more secure and foster stable relationship with both parents. It can also allow for healthy relationships. When we co-parent effectively, we can encourage and strengthen the emotional and psychological well-being of our kids while maintaining strong family connections. If we fail to co-parent effectively, children are more likely to have increased stress and anxiety, emotional dysregulation, instability, and difficulty navigating new circumstances. In order to avoid strained relationships with one or both parents, we need to use a child-focused approach with boundaries, communication, consistency, and flexibility.
Maintaining open lines of communication might include discussing schedules, sharing records and receipts, and addressing any concerns that may arise. You may want to use technology to facilitate communication with apps such as https://www.ourfamilywizard.com/, https://talkingparents.com/, https://www.2houses.com/, and https://coparently.com/ to manage and share schedules and information and to communicate effectively.
Maintaining personal boundaries is essential for successful co-parenting. This means respecting each other's privacy, personal space, and parenting time. It is important to avoid discussing emotional issues and using your children to communicate with the other parent.
Children do not want to be in the middle of disagreements between their parents. It is vital to shield your children from any conflicts or disagreements between you and the other parent. If you need to address a contentious issue, do so privately and away from your children. When problems do arise, try to work together and stay calm to find solutions that benefit everyone involved. Support and encourage your children's relationship with their other parent and foster a positive, loving environment for them.
Be polite during transitions with your children. Treat the transition of the children like a business deal. Keep it short and cordial. Use a communication folder or notebook to hand off documents, receipts, and communication to your ex-spouse. Please encourage your children to enjoy their time with the other parent.
Address disagreements and disputes constructively and calmly. Focus on finding and resolving the issues in a way that prioritizes your children's needs. If you're struggling to resolve conflicts, please know that we at Sequoia Counseling Center feel honored to support you through these challenges.
Annette Brashears, LPC Associate
I enjoy working with children,adolescents, adults, couples, and families. I have a special interest in serving survivors of human trafficking. I commit to providing a judgment-free environment where you will find complete acceptance and support.