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Lost in a Co-Parenting Forest: A Compass for Parents

A healthy co-parenting relationship also involves being flexible and willing to compromise when necessary. It means acknowledging that both parents play a crucial role in their child's life and that their involvement is important for the child's development.

Like at the end of a book, when a relationship ends; but if you have children together with your ex, it could be more like turning the page to the next chapter of your life which is co-parenting and parents working together to raise their children. When both parents have been involved historically, this is really just a continuation of their parenting styles from before except with different boundaries.

Whereas for those parents who have never shared an equal voice in decision making so far, may experience this as another level of conflict. The other parent might see these newfound interests in decision making as fake, impulsive or meant only for the attention they attract on social media platforms.

The 3 C’s of Successful Co-Parenting

COMMUNICATION. When both parents are sensitive and considerate about each other’s child-oriented needs however, there will be very few misunderstandings. By also ensuring clarity in communication ,it leaves no room for any disagreement between them regarding their children’s decisions . Shared online calendars or apps designed for co-parents are one option while others take advantage of weekly catch-up calls or emails.

COOPERATION. This requires putting aside personal differences and finding common ground on important decisions regarding raising their child. Also it implies that both parents contribute equally in the decisions affecting their kids’ lives.

CONSISTENCY.  Establish emotional support which fosters confidence among children since they already know what would happen concerning essential areas at a given time within two households having rules such as coming home time etc. However, it also helps them cope when things change due to family events that cause inner conflicts among themselves because they do not know how each wants to handle similar situations. That makes co-parenting pointless without consistency. Some friends from high school could get whatever they wanted out of one parent – undermining the other parent’s authority. It maintains consistence and stability for your children.

Benefits of Successful Co-Parenting

Both children and parents benefit from successful co-parenting. For example, it creates a stable and safe environment for children which is necessary for their mental and emotional development. This becomes evident in the lives of children as they view their parents working together.

For the parents, successful co-parenting can reduce stress and conflict, leading to a more amicable relationship. Certainly, improving your relationship with your ex makes moving between homes easier and improves family dynamics as well. It is also a way to make informed decisions since both parents are involved in making decisions about the child’s life.

Successful co-parenting sets an example of how healthy relationships should be modeled for your kids as they grow. These important skills will help them in future relationships. This teaches them that good communication and cooperation with others can bring consensus on many things. However ,these skills would prove useful to them later when choosing life partners.

How Can I Be a Good Co-Parent?

Co-parenting is when two parents unite together after separation or divorce, so that they can share up bringing together despite not being romantically involved. This encompasses shared parenting responsibilities and joint decision making about their welfare.

Co-parenting, however different it may sound, involves keeping a routine that runs across the schedules of all family members; covering financial obligations; and making decisions on major children’s issues such as education and health. Both parents have to participate in raising children and therefore, they must find a way for them to work together.

The definition of co-parenting does not end there – it also includes ensuring kids maintain strong links with their birth parents. It requires them to be ex-spouse friendly and gives adequate time and space for this relationship development.

This is important because it provides some assurance for children during what might be an unsure time. The difference in the world can be made by both parents caring for them.  In addition, collaboration among divorced couples can help minimize emotional stress’ impact on children due to divorce which then might allow better adaptation of these people towards future changes in their family setups and grow a healthy strategy of coping with stress at later times.

Professional Tip: Use inclusive language while co-parenting. Like calling your child “yours” when speaking to your ex-partner indicates that you no longer see him/her as part of the family anymore. Further, this demonstrates that you do not view your other parent as an equal decision-maker.

Should Divorced Parents Do Things Together With Their Kids?

That said, whether or not divorced parents should engage together in activities involving their children is individually dependent upon each particular family’s dynamics and facts surrounding separation but here are some pros and cons related thereto.

When joint weddings happen after divorce by birthday parties or school events among others , it strongly serves as a message that no matter how ailing the whole process was , yet we still are able through our presence maintain our role in supporting these young ones’ lives . This is particularly vital in the course of divorce transition and is essential for kids’ well-being.

Family events such as holidays, birthdays or school functions are excellent opportunities for children to witness good relationship between parents. Besides, it helps them get used to a new life when they observe their fathers or mothers talking to one another or doing something together. Similarly, collective experiences can create memorable moments that solidify the bond between parents and children.

Attending such events should never infringe on a child’s rights. In cases where divorced spouses don’t like each other anymore or there is too much hatred among them, public participation may cause conflicts and lead to unnecessary stress. This tension can be unhealthy for children emotionally and they might feel torn apart or accountable for their parent’s unhappiness.

But if the parents cannot get together without a negative atmosphere around them, they should instead find ways of attending functions as well but at different times.  Others may also choose to stagger their events so they do not share the same calendar with the other parent.  Nonetheless, it is not bad when your child spends his or her time separately with you on various issues and activities because this allows him/her to create separate relationships with both of you that have special ties and independence. You can be “swim team mom” or even “soccer dad,” which will bring you closer to your children by participating in an event only for two.

Setting Boundaries

Establishing and respecting boundaries brings healthy co-parenting relationships. One of the first boundaries to set is communication. Parents should decide on what would be an ideal method of reaching out amongst them such as texting calling or emails.  This enables them have control over their lives so that they can manage themselves well with low chances of getting into conflicts. This also enhances good relationship between both parents where the children will feel comfortable being raised in a united family.

Another important boundary regards decision making. This implies that it recommends how such decisions about these kids’ education should be made including regular meeting set up for discussing major decisions among others or having a system whereby each parent has final say in certain domains. Through this boundary being put in place arguments would not arise among them hence each parent will actively participate in their child upbringing.

Scheduling & time-sharing is another critical boundary that should not be ignored here.  The parents who love their children most may come up with patterns that work best for everyone involved especially ensuring that all kids have equal time shared between their mother as well as father at any given point.  In particular, it should be based on holidays, weekends and other special moments. It is important to look at the needs of the children in order to come up with a timetable.

Financial responsibilities must also be laid out clearly. This can include education, medical care as well as sports activities among others. By so doing this could reduce any form of conflicts arising from it hence they will both contribute towards the welfare of their child.

As a result, boundaries are set for new relationships. When can partners date and when is it appropriate to bring them to your children? These moves help make sure that more family members interact freely with all other people living within the same home.

Finally, there should be boundaries regarding conflict resolution. They may decide to use mediation or counseling where necessary during this process.

It’s very important not forget that family needs change over time and therefore boundaries too. For this reason, setting such boundaries might require regular communication as well as flexibility so as to maintain healthy limits within parents and ensure successful co-parenting relationships in future.


Co-parenting can be challenging but by maintaining open communication, cooperation and consistency, a successful co-parenting relationship can be built; every family is different and therefore there’s no one size fits all approach; find what works best for you and your family and don’t hesitate seeking community support or going through Divorce101 or reaching out for personalized guidance with an online divorce coach or co-parenting coordinator.  

Creating a happy and supportive environment for your children may be challenging, but you can do it provided you have the right tools and support as well. So, basically, it’s about providing love and support necessary to make them prosper.


 2022; 25(3): 500–528.
Published online 2022 Feb 1. doi: 10.1007/s10567-022-00379-3

The Divorce Process and Child Adaptation Trajectory Typology (DPCATT) Model: The Shaping Role of Predivorce and Postdivorce Interparental Conflict

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