Co-parenting

Making a success of Co-parenting

Second part of our 'Parenting Partners' advice blogs

The important role of Co-parenting

Separation and divorce can be one of the most emotionally challenging experiences of your life. The repercussions may be felt for a long time with financial worries, practical stresses, and massive changes. If you are a parent, then you also have the added dimension of trying to plan your children’s immediate future. They will be looking to both of you for security, guidance, reassurance, and love. This is what they deserve. That’s why it’s essential that you make a success of ‘Co-parenting’.

Even though your relationship may be ending, your responsibilities as parents won’t be. You may feel that your current situation is overwhelming but it’s important that as parents you focus your energy on the wellbeing of your children. The actions of both parents will be hugely significant, at a time in your life when you may feel at your lowest.

Children can be a lot more resilient than we give them credit for. In saying that, they are just children. They may seem quite mature, but they aren’t adults and shouldn’t be treated as such. They don’t have the same life experience as you so when someone says they will ‘bounce back’ from this, that’s largely down to how you, as co-parents, manage them through this situation. This responsibility isn’t only on one parent, this is down to both of you! Like it or not you’ll need to work together to ensure your children aren’t left battling mental health issues into their adulthood. Working together is one of the most important parts of co-parenting.

Establish a Co-parenting plan and stick to it

You must remember that you are the role models in your family. If you are aggressive towards each other then your children will see this. On the flip side, they may also see their parents setting aside their differences and working together to make the best of a bad situation. If you can make a plan, so you’re both on the same page when it comes to dealing with your children through this process, then things become a little easier to manage.

Establish Co-parenting Communication

One of the first things to establish is some level of communication when it comes to safeguarding the wellbeing of your children. Agreeing on this level of communication may require some work from both parents and input from someone like Lynda, a member of the Nightingale team who works with parents who are separating. Even though you may find it difficult to work with your ex-partner, don’t shy away from it. You are both doing this for your children and putting their needs first.

Anticipate their reaction

Try to anticipate your children’s reactions. What are the things they priorities in their lives? Don’t get stuck playing catch up, trying to react to their responses, anticipate, and be prepared by knowing how something will affect them. They will no doubt have a hundred and one questions for you but the overriding thing they will be looking for is ‘reassurance’.

Co-parenting

Things to consider

Here are a few things to consider when going through a separation or divorce:

  • Your children are the priority
  • Anticipate your children’s needs
  • Be prepared to be pro-active from the beginning
  • Children see and hear far more than you will ever realise
  • Children will say what they think you want to hear when questioned
  • Your children are loyal to both of you
  • They will follow your example
  • You are their role models – if you become conflictual, or aggressive, they will too
  • Think about the future – blended families, etc
  • You can allow your children to grow into well-adjusted, happy young people – you also have the potential to damage them forever

Avoiding major issues with Co-parenting

Co-parenting, when done right, can help to avoid some major issues for your children. However, guiding them through the process of separation and divorce may feel like a bit of a maze. We strongly urge you to seek the help of someone like Lynda from early in the process. She will work with you and plan the right path for you, your ex, and your children. From telling your children to working on a successful co-parenting relationship, she is a seasoned professional who aims to avoid the horrendous emotional fallout that often accompanies separation or divorce.

Get in touch with Lynda by calling the Nightingale team on 0141 353 9373 or by using the contact form on our Contact Page.

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