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THINGS EFFECTIVE CO-PARENTS DO
1. They support the other parent’s relationship with their children. Effective co-parents never put their children in the position of choosing between parents.
2. They learn ways to disengage from conflict and to cooperate with the other parent. Effective parents understand the high cost of chronic conflict, and therefore, pick their battles wisely.
3. They work to provide a stable home life for their children. Effective co-parents know the importance of each of their roles as parents and learn ways to support each other to provide their children with emotional, psychological, and physical stability and safety.
After a breakup there are always some hard feelings that parents need to work through. Parents often feel anxious about sharing custody and being away from their children. While time with the children is reduced in a shared custody situation, parents relish the limited time they do get with the children. If there is mistrust or anger between parents regarding custody issues, anxiety and tension will also often be present. As each parent begins to see that their relationship will be facilitated and that there is respect for their special role in the child’s life, these uncomfortable emotions usually go away.
In this transition from being together as a couple and moving into co-parenting, parents must realign and change their relationship. After a separation, successful co-parents move into more of a business type relationship. They keep conversations limited to aspects that relate to their children. They are consistently respectful, open to hearing reason, accommodating, and flexible so that their children can be where they need to be to have a fulfilling and healthy childhood, relationship with each parent and their respective extended families, which are also very important.
In successful co-parenting relationships, parents develop a child focused plan and make decisions based on what is best for the children. They know it is not mom’s time or dad’s time…they work together and allow flexibility in order to get the child where he or she needs to be in their life and according to what is important to the child and his or her development.
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