5 Essentials Steps to Successful Coparenting | Two HappyHomes Inc.

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5 Essentials Steps to Successful Coparenting

Successful co-parenting happens when you both realize that your divorce - or break-up - may have ended your relationship, but not your responsibilities as parents. Sadly, the majority of couples who separate don't realize they can raise their kids together successfully - even though they no longer live together. At first, it may seem that co-parenting is simply impossible. Keep in mind, however, that you are not jointly parenting. Co-parenting means doing your best to cooperate with each other to ensure the most consistent and least disruptive path for your kids.
So, if you're considering co-parenting - or attempting it right now, these steps + advice will help guide you:
Step #1 - Keep your feelings about each other out of your kids' hearts + heads. No matter how angry, betrayed, or bitter you may still feel, if you can't put a lid on it in front of the kids - failure as co-parents is inevitable. Co-parenting requires maturity, grace, + stamina. Find an appropriate outlet for your unresolved feelings. Talking to your ex about the kids simply cannot become your time to vent.
Step #2 - Carrots work better than sticks. Maintain respect for your ex - this person is your kids' other parent. Even if the other co-parent's involvement is minimal, your kids benefit from this contact. Praise for the other parent's efforts is a strong predictor of co-parenting success.
Step #3 - Keep the lines of communication open. Communication lies at the heart of any relationship. If your marriage or relationship suffered from a lack of communication, resolve - for the kids' sake - to find a way to communicate. Technology is a handy solution  - if you prefer not to meet in person or chat on the cell. Find the tools - and the commitment - by which respectful communication takes place.
Step #4 - Allow for change + scary feelings. Your agreement to co-parent represents yet another change - on top of the huge change everyone experienced when you divorced or separated. It's okay to feel scared because it signals that you recognize your kids' futures are at stake. Co-parenting is a formidable challenge - and - realistically - why would you not feel just a bit scared?
Step #5 - Talk + listen to your kids. Your kids will want to know the nuts + bolts of the new parenting arrangement. Little kids, for example, will want to know where Santa Claus will visit. Or how the Tooth Fairy will find them. Older kids will want to know if friends can visit at both homes - and if they'll need to change schools. Don't expect every last detail to get ironed out immediately. Encourage your kids to share their concerns + questions with both of you. Family meetings are ideal - if you can swing it - so everyone gets the opportunity to be heard.

Written by Leah Klungness Ph.D., psychologist and co-author of The Complete Single Mother. Read more by Dr. Leah at Singlemommyhood.


I'm in the midst of co-parenting hell and I have to disagree with your statement - " Even if the other co-parent's involvement is minimal, your kids benefit from this contact." I'm sorry but you're either in your kids lives 100% or not. There is nothing in between. Sporadic visitation is not beneficial to the kids. Plain and Simple. You're a Psychologist. You should no better.
Shared parenting/ co-parenting is the number 1 goal of the father's rights movement. This allows them to meet the dual goals of punishing mom and getting out of paying child support. Its never about the kids. Decent Dads can work it out and coparent by PUTTING KIDS FIRST.They don't need laws. Unfortunately, many of you live in states where coparenting isn't a mandate, so coparenting with child abusers isn't on your radar. Google this. Its a living hell for kids.
I agree with this -- but my question is how to keep hard feelings out the economic equation -- my financial status has definately decreased since the split. i have sole custody and their father sees them 2x a week, but pays very little support. This means no more vacations, meals out, expensive toys and clothes, etc. and when the kids ask for that stuff it's hard not to say we can't have them anymore since your father pays so little support and needs to pay for his apartment, etc. without being a little bitter. Any thoughts are appreciated.
I understand that everyone's situation is different, but as long as there is not gross negligence or abuse, I am in complete agreement with Dr. Klungness that even if the other co-parent's involvement is minimal, it's better than nothing. Remember, your kids have a mother AND a father, no matter how imperfect we both are. You DID divorce him for a reason! I have focused on teaching my kids to accept that, and in the process, I've learned to accept that, too. Maintaining a position that says you're either 100% in your child's life or not at all is a mistake. You're choosing NO father for your kids. In the end, I know that my kids would prefer to have a father, and when they are old enough (18) to make their own decisions they can make the choice of whether to let him in their lives or not. In the meantime, I fully encourage them to see their father anytime he wants to see them . . . which sadly doesn't seem to be that often.
Everyone has good points and all our situations are different. I facing a mom who has 20+ years as an alcoholic to which lost the rights to her other children because of the child endangerment charges and all the duis. Not 10 years later she’s facing the exact same thing except she went to jail for 7 months for endangering our child by being intoxicated at 12:15am with our daughter in a stroller trying to get more liquor from the bar. I trying to get full custody of her so she doesn’t have to go thru what her siblings did before her. I have NO criminal record and with this in my she has falsely accused me of domestic violence so she can have something on me to prove me unfit. Oh yea we’ve been married for 19 years and I’ve just had enough so when she got this last dui in June 2018 I left her in jail and her sister bailed her out. Her and her sister haven’t seen each other in almost 10 years because her sister wouldn’t take her kids when Child Protective Service ask them to temporarily so now her sister is trying to make up for the guilty feeling from this and now she’s paying all her legal fees and know I’m struggling to get caught because I’m paying all the bills now. And they know this and are teaming up on me to keep my daughter around them. My brother in law has d violence and child endangerment on his record because he drinks as well. I wanna know from a mother’s eyes am I wrong for dragging my wife thru the mud to get my child?