This is also known as partnered parenting; an arrangement where people who have had children are not in a conventional relationship anymore but still find ways to raise their offspring together to provide a harmonious and nurturing upbringing. However, it isn’t easy to ignore a turbulent history with one’s ex-partner and any built up resentment. So it may be useful to think of this partnership as a new one that is solely based on the children. A key component of co-parenting is consistency. By having the same rules, punishment and reward systems in both households, children will know what to expect. To be child-focused, both co-parents must contain their feelings and avoid venting their frustrations to their children, especially when regarding their ex. Furthermore, if children are used as messengers by uncooperative parents, they become the centre of conflict. Communication is vital for co-parenting; parents must keep conversations direct, polite and child-focused. If disagreements arise, these shouldn’t be aired in front of the children. Being patient and making compromises leave a positive effect on both the child and the coparenting relationship. So respect, communication and consistency are all essential to functional co-parenting which will decrease conflict and make children closer to both parents.
– Louise Camilleri is a first year Bachelor of Psychology (Hons.) student at the University of Malta. She is particularly interested in sex therapy. Louise is an intern at Willingness.com.mt.