Parenting is arguably one of the most rewarding yet challenging experiences of all time. It can be exhausting just thinking about some of the basics involved, such as establishing rules and boundaries, following through with discipline, learning to be patient with your child, and recognizing and understanding his or her age appropriate developmental milestones. As if that weren’t complicated enough, throw in having to work with another person (or multiple persons) who may provide caregiver responsibilities to your child, may or may not live in the same household as you, and boom – instant disaster, right? Perhaps that was a bit extreme. While differences among those who are co-parenting together has the potential to bring on more challenges, it certainly doesn’t have to end in disaster.
- Parenting styles can be different and consistency is key. Work together to establish a few basic ground rules for your child that are important to you and the individual or individuals who you may be co-parenting with. Learn to be comfortable and flexible with anything outside of those basic rules.
- Model respect and appreciation for one other in the presence of your child. Avoid speaking ill of another co-parent in front of your child. In the event that you and a co-parent may become involved in a disagreement when your child is present, be cautious of the messages you may be sending through your non-verbals and the language you choose to use. If you are unable to come to a peaceful resolution, agree to table it for discussion at a later time. Follow up with your child afterwards to gauge his understanding of the conflict and to help him understand the outcome of the disagreement once it’s resolved. This will teach him that disputes can be handled in a respectful and healthy manner.
- Sharing is caring. Communicate openly and regularly with one another regarding your child’s needs and behaviors. Put your child at the forefront and challenge yourself to think of a co-parent as a valuable resource. Be open to exchanging feedback with a co-parent; it will only help you become a better parent to your child.
As always, we welcome you to visit our website and contact us at the Coalition (414-475-1246, 800-762-8063, or firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions, concerns, or comments you would like to share. We are here to help you!
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