Co-parenting best practise tips

Parenting is hard enough as it is without the added complications of a separation, divorce, or simply a difference in opinion with a partner on how to best parent your children. These all make up the ingredients for inconsistency, which can be disastrous for children who thrive on clear boundaries and consistent communication.

Of all the parenting challenges you’ll face this is often the trickiest, yet it doesn’t have to be if you follow these 5 simple rules:

1. Accept your differences

This can be particularly hard where parents are no longer together and they still carry some of their own baggage around the relationship breakdown itself. What is key here is remembering your joint focused efforts should always be around doing what is in the best interests of your children. As is an acceptance that you are ultimately two different people who may approach the same problem from a very different perspective.

2. Focus on your common ground

However acrimonious things are with your ex-partner you will always have some areas of ground in common; it may be that you both want your children to work hard, go to sleep promptly, respect their parents, or limit their screen time. Use this common ground as the foundations on which to build the more challenging areas, which are often around being spoilt by one parent, or inconsistencies in discipline. You don’t have to agree on precisely how you will promote each of these parenting values, such as going to sleep promptly for example; you just need to agree you’re both invested on working on them together.

3. Communicate expectations and challenges clearly to your children

Children thrive on consistency so make sure you give them that in your home, and let them know that it’s likely the rules will be different at your ex-partner’s house. It doesn’t make one better than the other; it’s just what makes families different. Be honest with your children that they might find this difficult at first but with time it will become second nature. Over time children will see through any false parenting for the sake of keeping them happy – children respect boundaries more than they let us believe they do!

4. Keep your opinions to yourself

This can often be the most difficult to do, especially when you fundamentally disagree with how your ex-partner is parenting, but children need to know their parents both love them. Children’s biggest fears are around being abandoned so reassurances of your civility to your ex-partner provides them with the stability and security they need.

5. Find a way to vent

You are no good to anyone if you bottle things up so find a support group of friends who you can offload your frustrations to. It is important these friends don’t fan the fire with inflammatory comments, as it helps no one, and only leaves you angry. Instead seek out friends who can offer a sympathetic ear, an arm around your shoulders, and who offer to ease your load so you can find some much needed you time.

This article is sponsored by Mayhan Baker.