Co-Parenting Etiquette

Related imageAs per the children’s ACT, BOTH parents have equal rights and responsibilities unless otherwise stated by a Court of Law.

When separating/divorcing from your children’s other parent, a lot has to be reconsidered. While living under one roof does not make a family perfect. Living under two roofs certainly will bring its shares of challenges.

Many things will have to be re-thought and although the best interest of the children must always come first, parents have to agree on a suitable arrangement which will fit with their new schedule.

Co-Parenting as such is a wonderful concept but not everyone is able to dive right into it.

Many emotions are at stake and co-parenting with someone who is no longer a person you trust or love or even like, can bring in a whole other level of emotions. So how can co-parenting work and be in the best interest of the children, when you really don’t see eye to eye.

Moving on requires time to emotionally come to terms with the meaning of this life transition. This can take time and should not interfere with your role and responsibilities of being a parent. Moving forward, on the other hand, is about consciously applying behaviours which are going to benefit the adjustments necessary for transitioning from one household to two household and to allow the children to feel safe adjusting to the same while being able to love and be loved by both parents.
  1. Co-parenting, at its best, is 2 parents parenting in harmony for the best interest of their children.
  2. Co-parenting, at its most challenging, is 2 parents demonstrating that they are unable to communicate with each other in a respectful manner.

Here are a few #TIPS to manage this transition and access some Co-Parenting Etiquette.

  • It’s not about you, it’s about the children
    • Remind yourselves that this is not the time to bring back the past, your issues, your grown up problems or your hurt and anger. It is about the children and giving them permission to feel safe loving and being loved by both of you.
  • Keep communication business like and refrain from making things personal
    • In a business relationship, we seldom share personal information. It is no longer your business what is happening in your co-parent personal life as long as each parent is confident that they conduct their personal lives with the best interest of the children in mind. Your only business is your children.
  •  Don’t inform. Discuss
    • Co-Parents who just inform after the facts lay a ground for potential conflict. It translates little respect towards the other parent’s opinion and forces a “My way or the highway” attitude. When you choose to discuss issues or decision-making with your co-parent, you open the door for valuing the other parent’s opinion and properly consider what is in the best of the children.
  • Share information, not feelings
    • When you allow your emotions to do the talking it’s likely going to be messy. Emotions, even though normal, and necessary, are seldom ground for good communication. Whether face to face, by email or messages, stick to sharing information. Emotions will trick you into bringing up the past, blaming, criticising, threatening and even punishing your co-parent, and will drive you to make a point rather than make a difference.
  • Every problem has its solution
    • Sometimes things may seem far from being solvable, yet every problem has its solution. Instead, ask yourself: “Is focusing on the problem helping me get what I want?.” Be a problem solver.
  • Be nice to each other
    • As parents we are affected when our children are mean to one another. Just imagine what watching their parents being ugly to each other does to them. It is not what we want for them and we most likely put efforts in teaching them to be nice to one another. We are their role models, first and foremost, so let’s be a good example to them and be nice to your co-parent.

In applying these principles, you will improve the quality of your co-parenting and uplift the environment for your children.

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