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Tips for adjusting to co-parenting relationships

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2024 | Child Custody

father playing with his two children on the couch

Co-parenting, or sharing custody, is one of the biggest challenges involved in many divorce scenarios. People who may prefer to never see each other again have to regularly interact with one another for the sake of their shared children.

Conflict is normal when those going through a drastic change in their relationship have to see each other frequently. Conflict between parents can make co-parenting arrangements far more stressful for the children. It is, therefore, better for everyone if the adults find ways to cooperate amicably. The three tips below can help smooth the transition from a struggling romantic relationship to a successful co-parenting dynamic.

Be conscious about communication

Cooperative co-parenting requires regular communication. Parents need to share information about the health and academic performance of their children. They may also need to communicate about any adjustments that they need to make to the schedule. Using a co-parenting app is one way to foster healthy communication habits. When adults realize that everything they say becomes part of a formal record, they may find it easier to be cooperative and avoid conflict. It is also easier to keep everything organized when there is one centralized location for all scheduling information and messages between the parents.

Agree on standards and rules

Parents maintain structure that helps make daily life predictable for their children. It is easiest for everyone in the family when the rules and expectations are the same at both households. Adults need to agree on what rules apply to their children and what types of discipline are appropriate when the children don’t meet household standards. Being responsible for the same chores and subject to the same bedtime at both houses keeps things consistent. That reduces the likelihood that children will try to manipulate the parents by playing them off of one another and can also make it easier for the children to meet the standards that the parents have established.

Have a plan for inevitable conflicts

While the ideal in a co-parenting scenario is to work cooperatively with one another, inevitably conflicts eventually arise. Co-parents who have arrangements in place for handling a dispute may be able to shield their children from unnecessary conflict and resolve their disagreements more effectively. Working with a co-parenting counselor, a pastor or another neutral third party can help parents resolve disputes. Maintaining rules for how parents communicate during times of conflict can also prevent a simple disagreement from spiraling out of control.

The most important consideration is to always keep the children at the center of all interactions. When parents stop viewing each other as failed romantic partners and start viewing each other as a source of support and love for their shared children, cooperatively co-parenting can become an easier goal to achieve. Those who approach shared custody arrangements with the right expectations may have an easier time adjusting to new family circumstances. Parents who consistently try to put their children first may have an easier time adjusting to shared parental responsibilities.