Ten tips for successful co-parenting

A good co-parenting relationship is important for you and your child’s well-being.

Co-parenting involves both parents sharing the responsibility for raising and parenting their child. It is a gift you can give your child to make every effort to successfully co-parent with your child’s other parent. Parents who live in the same house and even those who live apart can still co-parent. While it may not always be easy to do, co-parenting is important for you and your child’s well-being.

A father and mother need to develop a parenting partnership with his or her child’s other parent to help their child grow into a healthy, happy person. If the parents are not involved in a romantic relationship with each other, this partnership will take the form of a business-like, cooperative relationship focused on what is best for the child. This is a process that will take time and patience.

Parents are better able to cooperate when both decide to do what is in the best interest of their child. Each parent respects the other parent’s right to participate in parenting and an agreement is reached about some basic parenting rules. Feelings of anger and resentment between parents are released, and each parent is committed to parenting the child in a warm and loving manner.

Here are ten tips for successful co-parenting. Every tip may not apply to you or your family right now, but could become more useful as your child gets older. You can decide which ones work best for you and your family. These co-parenting tips are adapted from the Arkansas Bar Association’s pamphlet “From Parent Wars to Co-Parenting.”

  1. Make your child’s happiness and well-being your number one goal.
  2. Treat the other parent in a “business-like manner.”
  3. Treat your child as a child, not as an adult or confidant.
  4. Encourage your child’s relationship with the other parent.
  5. Communicate directly with the other parent.
  6. Make visitation exchanges pleasant and happy.
  7. Take parenting classes.
  8. Pay your child support on time.
  9. Be patient and flexible.
  10. Get counseling if you need it.

A good co-parenting relationship requires utilizing all of your best communication skills. When conflicts arise, remind yourself that your child loves this other person and the outcome you want is for your child to have both of you in their life. Even if you are no longer romatically involved with your child’s other parent, you are still parents together. Despite parents being from separate homes, a child will benefit the most from two parents who love them and work together to co-parent with less animosity toward each other. Your child will appreciate your effort to surround him or her with love and support through a strong and co-operative co-parenting partnership.

For more helpful information, see Michigan Sate University Extension’s “Together We Can: Creating a Healthy Future for Our Family.”

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