Co-parenting counseling addresses each client's needs and challenges — it can help parents put aside their differences, create a healthy balance or routine with their kids, and more. Everyone's challenges are different and so the therapeutic process is too.
Co-parenting can be one of the most difficult relationships to foster once a couple goes their separate ways. If a couple did not part ways on amicable terms, this issue can be even more difficult to navigate. However, when both parties work together and put the kids first there can be a harmonious situation that best benefits the kids. Here are five tips that can improve your co-parenting relationship for the better!
1. Put yourself in each other’s shoes.
Co-parenting with your kids can be hard, but practice empathy. Think about how you would feel if you were unable to have sufficient access to your kids. Think about how your kids would feel if they were unable to see a parent they were typically used to seeing due to a circumstance beyond their control. Treat each other how you would like to be treated and do what is best for all involved. Egos have to remain in check when putting the kids first.
2. Be flexible with schedules.
Visitation issues can cause an immense amount of stress amongst kids and parents, but ultimately the kids suffer the most when one party favors their time over the other. Be considerate and understanding when mapping out a visitation schedule. Sharing your child is not a punishment. It is cultivating an environment where they feel safe, loved, and wanted by both parents. Do your best to be open to a situation that allows for this to happen in a peaceful manner. Avoid arguing in front of the children. Get others involved in the exchange if you have difficulty being in each’s presence without an argument brewing. Kids will be thankful if the parents both see to it that they have free access to both parents.
3. Pick your battles.
It’s important to have common ground rules and values for the kids in both households. But it also stands to reason that each parent will deal with certain situations differently. Don’t expect dad to do everything exactly the same way you do it. Even if you were still married you’d have different parenting styles. And that’s ok. Kids thrive on those differences.
4. Communicate directly with each other.
Your kids are not your secretary or receptionist. They should not be forced to exchange messages between you and your ex-partner. Doing so puts the children in an difficult situation especially if the exchange is about something you both disagree on. Practice addressing each other calmly while keeping the conversation short and to the point. Avoid confrontations when emotions are running high. As with any parenting relationship, kids benefit the most from a parental unit who display a united front. Consider family counseling to improve communication between you.
5. Enjoy the time you have by yourself.
Getting over any failed relationship is hard, co-parenting after a breakup can be the perfect way to work on moving forward with your life and even finding new love. Don’t feel guilty for needing a break and investing in self care while your kids are with the other parent.