The Do’s and Don’ts of Co-Parenting
When you have a chronic illness like depression, you must work daily to achieve balance and wellbeing. The challenges of co-parenting may result in significant stress for individuals who are separated, divorced, or who share custody of a kid.
When a couple separates or divorces, the experience of raising children as a single parent is known as co-parenting, sometimes known as joint parenting or shared parenting. Co-parenting, which is sometimes a challenging task, is significantly impacted by the reciprocal relationships of each parent. Therefore, if you are healthily raising your children but your ex isn’t, your kids may have developmental issues. The same holds true if you’re being too lax and your ex is being too strict. Empathy, tolerance, and open communication are necessary for successful co-parenting. This is not an easy goal for couples who have had marital problems. To make co-parenting a good experience, putting your children first might be a great place to start. Here are a few suggestions.
Two Techniques for Solving Issues
Two problem-solving methods should be considered while co-parenting: strategic problem-solving and social-psychological problem-solving.
The strategic problem-solving paradigm considers the current problems. The behavioral components of your child’s issue are emphasized, as are the co-parenting conflict areas. Avoid addressing the psychological causes of issues. You will identify the issue as co-parents and discuss options and remedies as impartially as possible. Each parent is instructed to use strategic problem solving to settle disputes by carefully following three steps: 1) sharing information about needs and priorities, 2) building on common concerns, and 3) looking for solutions. This is accomplished without focusing on your or your ex’s emotional needs, goals, or desires.
A more dynamic approach to problem-solving is social psychological problem-solving. Here, the emphasis is on your attitudes and the psychological causes of your co-parenting blind spots. The social-psychological model varies from the strategic model in that it focuses on the psychological processes that lead to conflict and negotiating impasses rather than the strategic model’s assumption that parental disputes are inevitable to occur. It might be challenging to communicate with your ex using this technique; therefore, it’s good if you never do. But if you do, keep in mind not to be judgmental or accusing. Invite your ex to view things from your perspective with compassion, empathy, and genuine care for the kids.
- Decide to keep communication with your ex-spouse about co-parenting open. Make arrangements to accomplish this by email, text, phone, letters, or in-person communication. Even websites exist where you can upload schedules, send information, and interact without speaking to your ex personally.
- Both houses should agree on and follow the same rules. Even if they reject it, kids need structure and regularity. Consistency is required in matters like mealtime, bedtime, and finishing duties. The same is true of projects and tasks from school. Children benefit from the comfort and regularity of running a tight ship. Therefore, your youngster knows that certain norms will be followed wherever they are. “You know the agreement; you must make that bed before we can go to the movies,” I said.
- Commit to talking positively at home. Even if it may be music to your ears, make it a rule to frown upon your kids speaking disparagingly about your ex.
- Agree on ground rules and behavioral expectations for your kids so that their lives are consistent no matter which parent they are with at any moment. According to research, kids who grow up in households with a consistent parenting style are happier.
- Make a plan for your extended family. When your kid is in each other’s care, discuss and agree on the extended family member’s role and the access they will be given.
- Be aware that co-parenting will provide challenges and that your children’s demands should come before your ex’s when you modify your parenting approach.
- Watch Out for Slippery Slopes. Be mindful that kids often push the limits and break the rules, mainly if there’s a possibility of gaining something they wouldn’t otherwise get. This is why it is advised to co-parent as a team.
- Be drab. According to research, children need time to do everyday activities with their less visible parent, not simply pleasant activities.
- Regular updates. Make sure you and your ex stay in touch regarding any changes in your lives or challenging situations, even if it could be emotionally upsetting. It’s crucial that your youngster never, ever, ever serves as the main information provider.
- Strive for high notes. As parents, each of you brings essential qualities. Keep in mind the differences between you and your ex, and make sure your kids are aware of them. Speaking favorably about your ex shows kids that you can still find things to like about them despite your disagreements. “Mommy is amazing at helping you feel better when you’re ill. I am aware that she is better than I am.” It also encourages kids to recognize their parent’s favorable traits. “Daddy’s far more organized than I am,” I said.
- Keep your child’s load light. You should never include emotionally sensitive topics involving your ex in your parenting. Never use insults to harm your child’s bond with your ex. Never use your kid to manipulate your ex or learn more about what is happening. Here, this is what’s essential: Avoid exposing kids to conflict. According to research, including kids in your adult problems fosters emotions of powerlessness and insecurity, which leads them to doubt their skills and talents.
- Avoid making snap judgments or criticizing your ex. Take a breath and keep silent when your children say something that makes you uncomfortable. Remember that it’s usually advisable to accept any unfavorable remarks your kids make with a grain of salt. Being impartial is usually a good idea when situations like these occur. According to research, if you encourage your kid to succeed, they may grow to dislike and mistrust you.
- Avoid becoming an ineffective parent. When your kids are around, try not to be the cool dad or the cool mom. When they return to your Ex, doing so backfires and starts a circle of bitterness, antagonism, and resistance to following rules for everyone involved. Keep in mind that a unified front benefits a child’s development. Everyone benefits from co-parenting, which includes a fair amount of joy, structure, and predictability.
- Refuse to succumb to guilt. Divorce is a difficult process that evokes a range of emotions. You can turn your guilt into overindulgence if you aren’t always present in your child’s life. Recognize the psychology of parental guilt and how to avoid fulfilling desires without conditions. According to research, kids might develop a lack of empathy, become self-centered, and think they are allowed to do things that they are not entitled to. Children struggle to negotiate because they struggle to control their impulsivity and comprehend the dynamics of need vs. desire.
- Avoid punishing your ex by letting your kid avoid responsibilities. Letting free is not a good idea because you merely want to irritate your ex. You may do your schoolwork later, even if your mother prefers you do it first. Don’t tell Daddy I gave you the extra cash so you may get the video game you’ve been saving up for.” Find another outlet if you need to let your bad feelings out. Kickboxing, skeet shooting, and voodoo dolls may provide the same effects without creating much of a parental problem. Remember that the golden rule—work must come before play—will benefit your kid for the rest of their life. Being consistent will assist your kid transfer from your ex to you and the other way around.
- Avoid accusing. Discuss. If anything about your ex’s co-parenting is upsetting you, never keep silent about it. Create a productive business relationship with your ex if you don’t get along with them personally. The proper growth of your kid depends critically on your ability to communicate about co-parenting. There should be no blaming, or you keep doing this discourse. Making your child the center of your communication is the best course of action: “After they get home after their visit, I observe the kids doing various things. Any suggestions on what we could do?” Not a single word in the sentence begins with “you.” There is also no accusing language or finger-pointing.