Co-parenting is the more or less equal sharing of parenting responsibilities by guardians after divorce. It is always a challenge for ex-partners with kids to continue being present in their child’s life while avoiding the conflicts and complications as much as possible.
The breakdown of the marital bond may be associated with a “decline of parental ability” (Cigoli, 1998). The feeling of guilt after divorce and preoccupation with this thought that ‘I am not a good parent’ is normal. Also, while you are struggling, sometimes it is harder to be sensitive to your child’s needs. However, you need to acknowledge that you are going through a hard time and should not blame yourself. It is also important to keep in mind that you can still be a good parent and whatever you are going through, your kid is also a part of it and will have a strong effect on them.
Here are some notes that you might find useful:
- There is a need for re-organizing parental roles in an open and clear way and both parents should respect each other.
- Always have a schedule that suits everyone and always involve the kid(s) in making decisions.
- Try to be Flexible: when coming up with a timetable that works well for everyone, of course there are some occasions that there is a need for rescheduling. So, make sure to be flexible timewise, personality-wise, and as much as possible career-wise.
- Make sure that the kid has their own space in both accommodations so it would actually feel like home, not one, but two!
- Try to be there for your kid’s important occasions, such as birthdays, graduations.
- Put the well-being of the children and their needs in the priority.
- Try to maintain friendly interaction and stay collaborative with the other parent.
- Stop focusing on existing or previous interpersonal conflicts.
- keep direct and open contact with one another and never use the kid as intermediaries.
- parental and spousal roles should be separated. Your issues with your ex-partner should not influence your parental role.
- Avoid any hidden or open Competition between yourself and the other parent. You both have equal share in co-parenting and never put the kid in the situation of choosing sides.
- Do not gossip or complain about your ex-partner in front of your child. You might find the blog on parental alienation helpful in this matter: https://willingness.com.mt/working-with-parental-alienation/
- Avoid competition between the other parent and stepparents.
- It is better if you voluntarily establish the agreement of co-parenting and its conditions, not just by the order of the court.
- Do not involve the child in parental conflict.
You should always keep in mind that whatever you are doing is to support your child and ideally create 2 houses for them with 2 reliable parents.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Marziyeh Salehi is working as an intern within the Willingness team. She is also pursuing her master’s in Clinical Psychosociology at Sapienza University, Rome. Marziyeh’s research interests are couples, relationship and trauma.
Togliatti, M., Togliatti, A., & Di Benedetto, R. (2011). How couples re-organized themselves following divorce: adjustment, co-parenting and family alliance. Life Span and Disability XIV, 1 (2011), 55-74
Arendel, A., Colege, C. (1996). Co-Parenting: A Review of the Literature. National Center on Fathers and Families