Tips for Achieving a Harmonious Co-Parenting Relationship

Co-parenting is not an easy task. As much as the whole process affects both sides of the parents, the child is even more affected. Here are some things you need to learn inorder to achieve a harmonious co-parenting relationship. Written by Amanda Henderson

While divorce is incredibly common, it’s still difficult, messy, and holds its place as the second-most stressful life event after the loss of a loved one. But above all else, divorce is tough on kids. Children thrive in families that exist as a cohesive, harmonious system. When that system is ripped apart — particularly amidst a high-conflict parenting situation — children can really struggle.

At Kids Need Both, we know supportive co-parenting is vital to the health and wellbeing of children affected by divorce. Successful co-parenting is an art that takes practice and patience to master — a lot of patience! We created this guide to help you work with your ex to create a positive and nurturing home environment where your children can truly thrive.

Why is Your Co-Parenting Relationship Important?

After a messy divorce, the last thing you want to do is communicate with your ex. But your co-parenting relationship will have a major impact on your children’s development. Fatherly reports that children who are raised with the support of both parents are less likely to drop out of school, wind up in jail, or engage in risky sexual behavior. And the benefits of stable parenting stretch well into adulthood. With both parents present during childhood, kids are more likely to hold steady jobs and enjoy healthy romantic relationships later in life.

Creating a positive co-parenting relationship will benefit your kids in numerous other ways. Your children will learn how to develop healthy attachments. They will feel loved, supported, and confident in their ability to express themselves. They won’t feel rejected by either parent, and they won’t carry feelings of anger, resentment, or guilt. While it may be tough, working with your ex really is the best thing you can do for your kids.

Creating a Nurturing Environment Amid Conflict

Believe it or not, you can create a successful co-parenting relationship even if you can’t stand your ex. You will have to set aside your disagreements and learn to communicate effectively for the sake of your children. To accomplish this, Parents.com recommends treating your co-parenting relationship like a business, keeping things simple and respectful. Set boundaries and avoid drama. Leave no room for one parent to pester the other about their parenting plans or what they do in their personal life.

Remember, parental conflict can cause household tension that impacts your kids. If your home environment feels negative, there are a few steps you can take to clear out bad energy and make room for positivity. For example, Redfin suggests cleaning, decluttering, and opening the windows to refresh your home with clean air.

Learning to Let Go

Communicating with your ex is impossible if you’re holding onto past conflict. You don’t have to forgive them, but you have to move past feelings of jealousy, anger, or resentment that are hurting your ability to put your children first. Practicing mindfulness and learning to live in the present is a great way to overcome negative events from the past.

Coping with parenting differences is a major challenge for co-parents. Assuming that your children’s mental, emotional, and physical health is not at risk, try not to intervene in your ex’s parenting. You can offer suggestions, but avoid micromanaging them. Being overly critical can undermine your relationship and erode your partner’s confidence.

Overcoming Parental Alienation

Parental alienation — when one parent turns their children against the other — is a serious problem affecting families in high-conflict divorce cases. It can be really hard to overcome this issue and connect with a child who believes you’re a bad person. If the alienating parent is unintentionally driving a wedge between you and your child, consider visiting a therapist who can help them recognize and correct their behavior. If, on the other hand, your ex is intentionally alienating you, it may be worthwhile to seek advice from a legal professional.

Navigating a high-conflict divorce is extremely challenging. Take it one step at a time and try to work with your ex to build a strong parenting foundation for the benefit of your kids. If you’re still getting your bearings as a co-parent, sign up for Kids Need Both’s online and self-paced co-parenting course.

Co-parenting is not an easy task. As much as the whole process affects both sides of the parents, the child is even more affected. Here are some things you need to learn inorder to achieve a harmonious co-parenting relationship. Written by Amanda Henderson

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