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6 Tips For Successful Co-Parenting

Co-parenting can be a challenging task, even for the best of parents. As a recently separated parent, putting your children first is paramount if they are to thrive in a post-separation world – and communication with your ex-partner is key. Co-parenting is a subjective matter and the ideal parenting set up will look different for everyone. However, there are principles that can be helpful in all situations. Today, we look at our 6 top tips for successful co-parenting, so read on to find out more. 

Understanding Co-Parenting 

Before we dive into our 6 expert tips, it is important that we define the exact meaning of co-parenting. A quick look in the dictionary will provide a succinct definition – sharing the duties of bringing up a child of parents who are separated or not in a relationship. However, co-parenting is so much more than just a definition. Co-parenting can be challenging even in the best of times, and agreeing with your ex-partner on how you will raise your child may even be frustrating at certain points.  The key to successful co-parenting is to separate the personal relationship with your ex from your co-parenting relationship. Your co-parenting relationship should be one that solely focuses on the well-being of your children. Whatever your situation, you and your former partner need to make clear decisions on how you’ll parent your child now and in the future. Co-parenting encompasses decisions about (but are not limited to):
  • Living arrangements;
  • Finances;
  • Education;
  • A child’s medical needs;
  • Holidays and special events; and
  • Decision making guidelines.

Top Tips For Successful Co-Parenting 

  • Create A Co-Parenting Plan

Coming up with a co-parenting plan can be the most useful way to set out the details of your new relationship. In order to come up with a plan that is mutually agreed upon, you and your former partner need to discuss your rights and responsibilities with regard to your child, along with figuring out ways to work out any disputes that may arise.. A co-parenting plan should address: a contact or visitation schedule, finances, a child’s medical needs, holidays/special events and other key decision making guidelines in the best interest of your child. Your co-parenting plan should include back-up arrangements in case of emergencies or changes in plan. In most cases, ex-partners are able to come up with a mutually beneficial co-parenting plan on their own. However, if you are having issues sorting out a co-parenting plan, you can get help from a family lawyer, mediator or relationship counsellor.
  • Put Your Differences Aside

Regardless of age, navigating a co-parenting plan with utmost maturity can be a challenge, especially if the relationship with your ex is frayed. The most helpful tip we can offer you is to put your differences aside, for the sake of your children. Separation and divorce can be incredibly difficult on children and the last thing you want is to pull your children into your personal drama.  Setting aside your differences to create a harmonious transition for your kids will show them that they are your first priority, and it will make them feel supported as they navigate life after the split.
  • Embrace Flexibility

The truth is that things may not always go 100% according to your schedule or parenting plan. This is where a little flexibility can really go a long way. For example, if your former partner is occasionally late for pick-ups, it might help to be ready with alternative plans. Always keep in mind that getting upset about a change in your parenting schedule does more harm than good, and embracing your new co-parenting lifestyle with an open mind is always the best step forward. 
  • Utilise Co-Parenting Tools 

In the age of digital, it is no surprise that there are a variety of different websites, tools and applications available to help divorced parents navigate their co-parenting duties. Tools such as scheduling assistance, conflict resolution apps and budget trackers can really help parents stay organised and on top of their responsibilities. Co-parenting apps are also fantastic in helping families manage appointments, events, holidays, and offer quick and easy communication between ex-partners without having to deal with contentious conversations. 
  • Maintain A United Front 

Your ex may be the last person on earth that you want to see, but keeping animosity and ill-feelings out of your child’s sight is key. Avoid speaking negatively about your co-parent in front of your child and never make them feel like they have to choose sides. If you feel like you have a lot on your mind or are in need of venting your frustrations, we highly recommend speaking to friends, family members or a therapist about the challenges you are facing. If you feel angry or resentful, try to remember why you need to act with purpose and grace: your child’s best interests are at stake. 
  • Listen To Your Child

For a child whose parents have recently divorced or separated, getting used to moving between living with one parent and the other separately isn't easy. As such, listening to your child’s concerns is a vital part of navigating a successful co-parenting journey. Remember to create time and space to give your child your full attention and to just listen. Never interrupt or ask too many questions, and don’t try to solve or minimise their concerns.  ______________ Fostering a co-parenting relationship that prioritises your child’s best interests is by far the most successful outcome post separation or divorce. When co-parenting gets tough, the dedicated and compassionate team at Oxford Partners is here to help. To schedule a consultation, simply call us at (03) 9670 7577 or send us an email at admin@oxfordpartners.com.au

6 Tips For Successful Co-Parenting

6 Tips For Successful Co-Parenting

Co-parenting can be a challenging task, even for the best of parents. As a recently separated parent, putting your children first is paramount if they are to thrive in a post-separation world – and communication with your ex-partner is key. […]