Co-Parenting 101

By: Angela Semeta

As we all may know, a divorce or a separation between two parents isn’t easy for anyone, especially the child/children. When my daughter’s father and I decided to go our separate ways it was not an easy decision but we knew that in the end it was the best for everyone. We Co-parentingknew that it would mean putting our daughter’s best interest above our own and that we would have to come together and find a way to make particular sacrifices for our daughter. Now that we were new to the co-parent world, things would be much different but we would have to make things work and learn to be civil for the sake of our daughter.

It is important to remember that even though your disagreements may be part of what got you to this point in the first place, you must try not to put your child in the middle of your heat-of-the-moment discussions. Children are not equipped to understand adult problems, nor should they have to bear the stress. Find time when the two of you can discuss differences you may have that focus on the needs of your child. Never try to get in the middle of your child’s relationship with the other parent or use your child to get back at your ex, as it will promote feelings of insecurity.

It is also very important to come to an agreement on visitation, vacation and holidays. We normally switch off holidays, and then the following year we get our daughter on the holidays we didn’t get her on the year prior. Another difficult topic of discussion is when your ex or yourself is ready to start a new relationship. At some point it is bound to happen. Luckily for myself and my ex, we have been able to remain friends throughout the process and are able to communicate. Though neither of us is in a relationship at this point, we have discussed the topic.  We agreed to keep each other informed and cross that bridge when we get to it.

I have seen many couples go through many bitter divorces and breakups, and it is so important to remember to put your child’s needs first. In some circumstances the courts must get involved for custody or visitation purposes. But at the end of the day if you can just sit down together and avoid any type of conflict, then everyone wins. Most importantly, your child will see you both as role models and know that you were able to handle the situation in a responsible fashion. He or she will know that they are not to blame for the relationship not working out.

One thought on “Co-Parenting 101

  1. I find your words encouraging and the fact that you and your ex are amicable is excellent. Unfortunately, we are in the beginning of a separation in which discussed previously, we were to “co-parent”, as to date, he only has our son once every other weekend and for one overnight stay. I don’t believe that this is what co-parenting is about. He also will not speak to me only via text and even that can get ugly at times…I’m really trying, but this isn’t working. It’s not fair to our son. My son believes that this is the way that it works and that’s not right. My main concern is having a male role model in his life…any further advice?

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