Having to stay in consistent constant contact with an ex can be difficult but we do it for our children. Co-parenting or joint custody is having both parents have an active role in a child’s life. Your child’s mental and emotional well-being could affect how you co-parent. It may seem impossible to put your feelings aside when you get out of a relationship but it is possible. Not only is it possible it is necessary so you can focus on your child’s best interest. There are some situations where co-parenting may not be in the child’s best interest. For example, if a parent has a substance abuse problem it is in the child’s best interest to be active in their life. Once they are sober or at least reach out for professional help then they may be okay to be in their child’s life. Another example is if you left the relationship due to abuse. That is a major reason to not co-parent at least without having the courts involved for everyone’s safety.
It’s important to be consistent between homes. This is where co-parenting for me becomes very difficult. In my home I expect Brayden to do chores, listen to adults, have bedtimes and just be a kid. His safety is my main priority. When Brayden is at his dads house he tends to have no rules. He stays up late on school nights, runs around his dad’s neighborhood with no parental supervision. Then he has also been exposed to adult issues that he shouldn’t have to worry or even know about. It’s a constant struggle because to my almost 9 year old I am the mean parent. I am the one who doesn’t let him watch certain shows on TV or let him run around my neighborhood with no adults.
His father and I can communicate well when his mom isn’t trying to do what she wants with our child. When it comes to co-parenting it should involve the two people who are raising the child. Once you begin having a relationship with someone else that becomes another conversation. When I began dating Dalton, my ex requested that he gets to talk to him about Brayden. I was okay with that because if he ever has another serious relationship I would want that same respect.
So what are the benefits to you child by being able to have both parents get along and co-parent in a healthy way?
1. Your child will feel more secure knowing that even though their parents aren’t together. Mom and dad are always there and love them.
2. Consistency between the homes is so important. Like I said this is something that I completely struggle with. When you have two homes that have the same rules and expectations life tends to be less chaotic.
3. Having that healthy relationship even when things don’t work out is a great learning tool for your child.
4. As I mentioned earlier the emotional and mental health of your child. Having a life where your parents aren’t always arguing and yelling at each other leads to a happier life. You have a less chance of developing depression this way.
How do you know if you have a healthy co-parenting relationship or not? I found a very useful list and pulled some of what I thought was the most important from each category.
Characteristics of a healthy co-parenting relationship
• Healthy boundaries
• Being respectful about your ex’s new partner
• Being thankful for step parents
• Focus on the child’s well-being
• Being able to have positive communication between the homes
Characteristics of a unhealthy co-parenting relationship
• Trying to ruin your ex’s new relationship
• Anger when communicating
• Breaking promises to your child
• No flexibility
• Uses child to communicate
• Says bad things about your ex to the child
• Threatening court to punish the other
• Making physical threats
• Giving your child personal information about the other parent
Just by this list if you knew my co-parenting relationship you would say that it’s unhealthy. Unfortunately he’s only hurting Brayden. He does things to try and hurt me by calling me names or saying hateful things. I’ve learned he only says those things to me to make himself feel better. Whether we have children by choice or we have our children due to a unexpected miracle. Either way we made the choice to raise our children and have a good relationship with the other parent. Sadly it doesn’t always go that way. So what are some tips to co-parenting?
1. Put your bad feelings to the side. We almost always have some sort of negative feeling when a relationship ends.
2. Don’t put your child in the middle, they didn’t ask for any of this so make it as easy on them as possible.
3. Keep your conversations with you ex strictly about your child.
4. Make important decisions regarding your child together.
Always remember why we do what we do. There are so many ups and downs with co-parenting but if we keep our mind set on the reason we put up with it all it helps get through the bad times.
Disclaimer: I don’t own the rights to this picture. i am not a medical professional. if you are having a medical emergency please contact 911 immediately. This blog is for informational purposes only. if you believe you may have a medical issue contact your local medical provider