When I teach co-parenting in Lincoln County, it seems that we spend a long time talking about how parents can really mishandle things. By the time we get to the part where we focus on how to do it right, I’m often afraid that I have lost my audience to doom and despair. If any of my former co-parenting participants are reading, I hope you will be encourage that we actually do have some tips on how to be successful at co-parenting. You can’t control what your co-parent does or how your co-parent behaves, but you can make a conscious effort to be on the same page when it comes to your kids. Here are 10 things you SHOULD do for successful co-parenting.
- Try to have similar rules for the children at the two homes. If you and your co-parent absolutely cannot agree on rules, that’s okay. Don’t sweat it.
- Give your children permission to love their other parent and encourage that bond.
- Help your children succeed in their relationships with their other parent by coaching them to talk with their other parent without sugarcoating any bad behavior on the part of your co-parent.
- Respect your co-parent’s right to privacy in their home.
- Try to have a regular business meeting to discuss issues surrounding the children. This meeting could be in person, by phone, or via email.
- Do everything in your power to keep appointments with your co-parent and be on time!
- Offer your co-parent extra time with the children before hiring a babysitter.
- Truly desire for your children to enjoy their time with your co-parent. Help children plan out the things they might do with their other parent. Help them make sure they have all the things they will need, like reminding them to pack a swimsuit if they might be going swimming.
- Make sure your kids have what they need in each home so that a minimal amount of “stuff” needs to be carted between homes.
- Stay focused on the children. Don’t react to threats, insults, or criticisms from your co-parent.
Working with an uncooperative co-parent is difficult. It may take a lot of practice and trial/error to find a way to work together. However, the investment of time and energy is worth it. Learning to work with a co-parent can literally be the difference between the success and failure for the children involved.