It refers to a situation where the child is reared by parents who do not have any formal/legal relationship between them in terms of a marriage or being lovers or even cohabitating. Usually the term co-parenting implies to a condition where the parents are separated or divorced but they are still working together or sharing their duties as parents for the sake of their child. The intent behind Co-parenting is the utmost well being of the child and so the child is kept away from any negative impact of the conflict or the breakup.
The concept of co-parenting differs from that of parallel parenting. In both the models, the biological parents of the child do not live together. However, in the first case, the parents work as a joint unit whether it is about attending school functions or solving problems together while in the latter case a single parent takes care of specific duties with one parent having custody of the child and the other gets to visit him on certain days, so on and so forth.
“This is probably one of the most difficult challenges any parent can face – learning to love the other Parent enough to make the children first!!” – Iyanla vanzant
Objective of Co-parenting
The basic goal of co-parenting is to keep doing what is perceived to be best for the child. Even though the parents may be at loggerheads and have their personal differences about various issues in their relationship, but when it comes to the child, they agree on almost all aspects and even if disagree on certain things, they resolve the disagreements amicably.
If we can make our kids grow up seeing two people really care about each other – that is the best we can make of co parenting!!
Some of the key goals of co-parenting are: –
- Let the child feel loved always. Never neglect the child’s emotional, mental and physical requirements.
- Provide a safe and secure haven for the child to come back to whenever he is overwhelmed in life or otherwise.
- Let the child not feel any difference in the relationship that he shares with his parents so that he gets a positive environment for growth.
- The expenses towards rearing the child are shared so that the kid gets the best of education and other opportunities to grow up to be a strong and mature individual.
How to be good at co-parenting?
- Never let your personal disagreements come in the way of being good co-parents. As individuals it may be difficult to set aside the hurt and the anger, but in order to stay focused on the kid and his welfare, it is important that the differences be resolved between the parents or they find alternate outlets for venting out the resentments. The child should never be made a part of the resolving process – keep him out of the muddle. Parents can take professional help or speak to their near ones in order to voice out their feelings and disappointments.
- Have a clear communication system with the co-parent. Keep it strictly business-like, do not come to conclusions, improve your listening and comprehension skills, make requests and be as flexible and patient as possible with the other parent in the good interest of your child. Never make this forum an excuse to take out your personal vengeance against each other. It is not essential to meet always, one can easily use the phone, SMS or social media to share information and communicate.
- Make it work like a team. Just as a sports team has all its members working collaboratively towards one goal – the win – similarly co-parents must cooperate to make things easy for the child and give him a positive pragmatic environment. It is a good idea to maintain the discipline and other rules being followed in each house so that the child doesn’t get too confused or overwhelmed. When it comes to key decisions like education, extra-curricular activities, medical or any other financial decision about the child, efforts should be made to arrive at resolutions mutually and cordially.
- Make and sound things like they are normal especially when it comes to the child leaving for a visit or stay with the other parent or when he comes back after spending some time with the other parent. Do not over-do the emotions and the reactions that will only baffle the child. In fact, as co-parents, efforts should be made to mentally prepare the child on what to expect at the other home and how things can be different from what it was like before so that the child is mentally and emotionally prepared and gets a better perspective of things.