Surviving Co-parenting

After divorcing or separating, couples go through the lifetime struggle of co-parenting. From being loving nurturing parents, couples forget the emotional toll divorce brings and do not handle the importance of co-parenting their children afterwards. A clinician in this practiced said that when couples divorced they hated each other more that blinded the love they had for their kids.

Here are eight steps to think about and apply to handle co-parenting issues.

  1. Making a Commitment to Care.   By committing to care, you will give your child the gift of love, continued contact with both parents and a happier childhood. Choose to do whatever it takes to improve the long-term well-being of your child.
  2. Allowing My Child to Love Both Parents.   Don’t place your child in situations where they are forced to choose one parent over the other. When this happens your child feels like he/she is in a tug of war between two battling parents and may believe they have to choose sides, thus preventing him/her from loving both parents.
  3. Changing my Long-Term Role. It is necessary to let go of the old relationship. Grieve over the loss of your relationship and mourn the loss of your lifestyle, shared intimacy, economic security and the dream of a perfect family life.
  4. Choosing my Personal Path.  One of the healthiest ways to survive is to let go of the old role and emotions associated with our past partnership and begin your new role as co-parents. It is essential that you see your former partner as only your child’s other parent.
  5. Managing my Own Anger. Find appropriate ways to cope when your buttons are pushed. Do something active to channel your anger such as walking, gardening or exercising.
  6. Taking Control of Conflict. Practice effective communication skills. Control your tone of voice, body language and choice of words.
  7. Negotiating Agreements. Don’t adopt the mindset of a “winner takes all”. Instead declare yourself a winner by solving problems in a way that meets your child’s best interests.
  8. Co-parenting is Forever. Dedicate yourself to giving your child the gift of a strong co-parenting relationship.

This was taken from an article by Ann Marie Termini, Ed.S., M.S., LP. She noted, for additional information on the eight steps to effective co-parenting, refer to the book “Cooperative Parenting and Divorce: A Parent Guide to Effective Co-Parenting by Boyan and Termini. Read more or the whole article on:

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