Co-Parenting, what it is and why you do it

“Co-parenting” (also called “shared parenting”) short for cooperative parenting happens when both parents work together as a team to raise their children after the marriage or romantic relationship is over.

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Posted by Coparenting / International Year of Coparenting on Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Convention on the rights of the child

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, 20 November 1989, confirmed the importance for children to have a strong relationship with both of their parents. This counts even more for children of divorced mums and dads. So, the concept of shared parenting was extended to separated and divorced families too.

Joint custody arrangements

Joint custody arrangements, especially after an acrimonious split, can be exhausting and infuriating. It can be exceedingly difficult to get past the history of hurts and built-up resentment you may have with your ex. Making shared decisions, seeing one another at drop-offs, or just speaking to someone you'd rather just forget can seem like impossible tasks. But while it's true that coparenting isn't an uncomplicated or perfect solution, it's the best way to get your children's needs met and ensure their closeness to both of you. Taking care of the children together, just as normal parenting, is not a natural skill and is not automatically taught. You have to start learning “on-the-job” and explore the best ways to co-parent in your situation. It can be helpful to begin thinking of your relationship with your ex as a completely new one—one that is entirely about the well being of your children, and not about either of you.

Why should you opt for co-parenting?

The main reason is because it helps the children to deal with the changes and the fact that the parents no longer want to live together. You may not be willing or wanting ever to talk again with the other parent after the relationship between two adults has ended, but you still have this special relationship which you are sharing: the relationship of being parents to your children. Doing what is best for your kids is your most important priority. The first step to being a mature, responsible co-parent is to always put your children's needs ahead of your own. Your children get continued stability and close relationships with both parents.

Parenting together is the best option for your children

Through your parenting partnership, your children can recognize that they are more important than the conflict that ended the relationship and they will understand that your love for them will prevail despite changing circumstances. Children whose divorced parents have a cooperative relationship:

  • Feel secure. Confident of the love of both parents, children adjust more quickly and easily to divorce and have better self esteem.
  • Benefit from consistency. Taking care of parenting together fosters similar rules, discipline, and rewards between households. Children know what to expect, and what’s expected of them.
  • Better understand problem solving. Children who see parents continue to work together are more likely to learn how to effectively and peacefully solve problems.
  • Have a healthy example to follow. Cooperating with the other parent, you are establishing a life pattern your children can carry into the future.

Children benefit from your parenting together. They are more self-confident and they feel more secure.

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