So Now You Have To Co-Parent:Dos and Don'ts
Are you currently co-parenting?
Having to co-parent can be one of the hardest tasks individuals will ever have to do. Co-parenting means having to set aside your feelings about that other individual and do whats best for your child. Over the past two years, I've had time to go through my own fair share of trying times and learn how to work through those hard feelings and co-parent to the best of our abilities. Here are a few ways to co-parent correctly.
1) Get along with the other parent no matter what your feelings are towards them. If your child is in the room, hold back any yelling or condescending comments because the child can pick up on that or feel when there is tension between the two of you. You don't want your child to ever feel like it is their fault that you two are fighting so it is best to make the child as comfortable as possible through this new transition time. Remember, it is harder on them then you to go from having one home to now two, mom and dad no longer living together and starting a brand new routine.
2) Always encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent. This means no bad mouthing the other parent to the child and hold your negative comments about them until the child is at least somewhere they can not hear it. If the child asks you to call their other parent, LET THEM! Your child at that moment could only need to hear that other parents voice to get them to calm down or get them through the rest of the day. If the other parent calls/texts to see if they can spend some extra time with the child, let them unless previous plans are in place. It can be extremely hard on the non custodial parent to lose out on time with their child or even learn to live without them in the same house every day.
3) DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT USE YOUR CHILD AS A WEAPON! This can be extremely hard for the primary parent to understand. Their anger/emotions need to be locked away when thinking about what's best for the child. If the primary parent is supposed to be getting child support, but isn't receiving it, they still need to let the non custodial parent see their child. Money should never be a factor in the relationship between the child and parents. Those are two completely separate categories or at least they should be. Even if you hate that other parent with everything inside of you, you can not raise your child to hold those same views. If the opposite parent is not a risk to the child then your child should be able to have a healthy relationship with both parents.
4) Set up rules and guidelines that both of you are comfortable with. This will make everything run smoothly. Decide what days your child will spend with each parent, whose responsible for buying necessities or how to split it and figure out where the child will be for each holiday. Remember, you two are no longer in a relationship so try to keep the personal lives separate until you guys think you can handle it.
Everything will be a learning process until you find routines and guidelines that work for everyone involved. It's honestly a trial and error sort of set up. That isn't what freshly split co parenters want to hear, but one set up may not work the same for your guys as it did for another split up couple. Do what's best for your child first and for most and then go from there. There will be rough days, but i promise you it gets easier as more time passes.