Raising children in two separate households can be difficult. Learning effective communication and dispute resolution skills, however, can help smooth out the process and result in positive outcomes for everyone involved. Here are some best practices for creating good outcomes in common situations that arise when co-parenting.
- Establish clear communication: Good communication is essential for successful co-parenting. Both parents should have a clear understanding of each other’s expectations and responsibilities. This can be achieved through regular check-ins, email, text messages or a shared online calendar.
- Establish a routine: Children thrive on routine and consistency. Establishing a shared schedule for drop-offs, pick-ups, and other important events can help reduce confusion and stress for everyone involved.
- Be flexible: Life is unpredictable, and sometimes, changes to the routine are necessary. Both parents should be willing to be flexible and make adjustments as needed.
- Focus on the children: Co-parenting is not about the parents; it is about the children. Both parents should prioritize the children’s needs and well-being, putting aside any personal differences for the sake of the kids.
- Seek help when needed: If conflicts arise that cannot be resolved through communication, it may be necessary to seek help from a mediator or counselor. An objective third-party can provide valuable perspective and help both parents reach a mutually acceptable solution.
- Avoid using the children as messengers: Avoid using the children as a means of communication between the two households. This can cause confusion, stress, and emotional distress for the children.
- Maintain a positive attitude: Co-parenting can be challenging, but it is important to maintain a positive attitude and avoid negative interactions with the other parent. This helps to create a positive and supportive environment for the children.
- Collaborate on decision making: Collaborate with the other parent when making important decisions about the children’s lives. This helps to ensure that both parents are on the same page and working towards the same goals.
Effective communication and conflict resolution skills are essential for successful co-parenting. By establishing clear communication, a routine, being flexible, focusing on the children, seeking help when needed, avoiding the use of children as messengers, maintaining a positive attitude, and collaborating on decision making, parents can create positive outcomes and a supportive environment for their children.
Need help in establishing a positive co-parenting situation for your family? FairField Center’s Meeting in the Middle – Positive Parenting in Two Households workshop can assist in developing the right skills for successful co-parenting. Take a look at the Meeting in the Middle FAQ then sign up for one of the convenient afternoon or Saturday sessions HERE.