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What Does Healthy Co-parenting Look Like?



"Co-Parenting is not a competition. It's a collaboration of two homes working together with the best interest of the child at heart. Work for your kids, not against them." -Unknown

Unfortunately, child-rearing doesn't come with a manual. We often have no idea how to parent, what to do, how to discipline, how to give consequences, what to feed them, what not to feed them, how to not "Mess up our kids," and most importantly, how to keep them happy, healthy and alive. The overbearing burden of being a good parent can often be too much for two happy and healthy parents. The difficulty and stress of raising children individually or in a negative co-parenting situation can feel even heavier. Do you wish that you had a different co-parenting partner? Do you want your co-parenting relationship to be healthier? Do you know where to start regarding co-parenting? It seems too overwhelming to know what to do. Are you unaware of how a negative co-parenting relationship affects children? If so, this blog is for you.


So, let's start with the definition of co-parenting. According to the Oxford Languages Dictionary, co-parenting is the sharing of responsibility for raising a child, often between people who do not live together as a couple or when one person is not the child's biological parent. So, why is co-parenting so tricky? Co-parenting can be difficult due to several different factors. One difficulty of co-parenting occurs due to emotional barriers. Emotional barriers between two individuals in a co-parenting relationship can occur with strong hostility, criticism, resentment, dislike, and anger toward the other person. Co-parenting can also be problematic due to communication barriers. Difficulties with communicating effectively with your ex-partner can cause severe problems with being able to co-parent effectively.


Healthy co-parenting is vital because negative co-parenting has adverse effects on children’s emotional well-being. The adverse effects that negative co-parenting has on children include stress, guilt, confusion, anxiety, depression, and negative behaviors. Children thrive when behavior is modeled for them, and can learn and grow from their parents in a safe, loving, and caring environment. Toxicity, hostility, anger, and resentment can cause children to feel unsafe and unsure about their homes and how to express themselves with one parent, both parents, or either parent due to confusion and feelings of being trapped in the middle of their parents’ conflict. Your co-parenting relationship is vital for your children's mental, physical and emotional well-being… and their future relationships when they become adults!

Like any other relationship, co-parenting will have its difficulties and challenges. Still, it is not impossible to achieve if you focus on your children's needs over your emotional challenges and complex problems.


Tips for A Healthy Co-parenting Relationship

Let's also dive into the Do's and Dont's of co-parenting.


Don't's

Dont's of co-parenting include but are not limited to the following:

1. Being neglectful to your children because of your feelings regarding your co-parenting partner

2. Talking negatively about the other parent to the child

3. Using the Child to get information about the other parent

4. Breaking boundaries intended to be beneficial for the children

5. Withholding important information about the children

6. Breaking parental agreements

7. Disregarding your court order

8. Refusing to respect, parenting, time, meetups, and agreements.


Do's

Do's of co-parenting include but are not limited to:

1. Abide by co-parenting agreements and compromise on what the agreement looks like

2. Engage in positive conversation about your partner around your children

3. Agree on behavior plans for consequences and discipline

4. Update the other parent often about important topics

5. Keep rules consistent in both parent's homes, as much as possible.

6. Compromise

7. Communicate often

8. Discuss the roles, rules, responsibilities, and expectations of extended family members and bonus parents

9. Self soothe and soothe again

10. Seek professional assistance or advice as needed to assist with establishing and maintaining a healthy co-parenting relationship


All in all, co-parenting can be difficult and has its challenges, but it doesn't have to be impossible. Focusing on the child's needs and the negative impact of unhealthy co-parenting relationships on the children is imperative for maintaining a healthy co-parenting relationship.

For more tips, please check out our other tips here: https://www.plantationcounseling.com/blog. You can always find us at 954-903-1676 for counseling services.



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