How to Co-parent after your separation or divorce

Divorce doesn’t come easy for children. The solution lies in co-parenting relationships to make the transition easier and secure a better future for the children. What’s working best for parents in the journey to co-parenting will eventually work best for children. 

Co-parenting means that the two parents who are no longer a couple or romantically involved now undertake joint responsibility for the child’s upbringing.

The fear of divorce is inevitable. However, when parents tactfully discuss the relationship status with the child and positively show what the future holds for them, the child develops a relationship based on trust and comfort with both parents. As children start to mature, it’s okay to tell them that if the parents had chosen to stay together despite differences, the home environment would have been toxic and not beneficial to the children. After all, negative emotions are contagious. 

Tips for how to co-parent

Following are some of the critical concerns that should be taken care of between you and former partner:

  • Addressing childcare: During my job as a supply teacher for daycare, a father was once annoyed that he got to know that the mother had already picked up when he came to pick up the child. Why? Lack of communication between the parents and not organizing daycare drop-off and pick-up timings. The child’s routine is also affected due to non-coordination.
  • Assigning the respective parent responsibility for extra-curricular activities.
  • Address your former spouse as ‘co-parent,’ especially near the children. This will inculcate a sense of respect amongst the children. Avoid words like ‘ex’ or ‘former spouse.’
  • It’s okay to settle on means of communication. If you both are not comfortable with face-to-face interaction as it brings back bitter memories, gracefully communicate through email or text messages. 
  • Establish a business-like relationship with the co-parent. This means you can let go of emotions and expectations. You both are there to make the lives of your children better. Period.
  • Do not restrict ways for your child to interact with the co-parent. When the co-parent requests to speak to the child, make sure to connect both.

Other guidelines for co-parenting:

  • Never speak badly about the co-parent near the child or the bitter past you shared. Likewise, avoid negative body language like frowning whenever the topic of co-parent comes up.
  • Never use the child to convey a message to the ex-spouse. Similarly, money should never be passed on through children too.
  • Once a child is back from the parent, do not interrogate the ex-spouse’s personal life or their new partner. 
  • Bid farewell to personal differences for the vested interest of the child. Let go of situations that annoy you and move forward.
  • Now that the child has two households make the rules consistent for both. This includes mealtimes, sleeping routine, screen time, etc. 

Resources on Co-parenting

For more concerns about the co-parenting relationship, it’s best to turn to reliable resources for guidance. The Government of Canada link on co-parenting states role of Legal advisers, counselors, parenting coordinators, and coaches who can guide through effective ways to parent together. 

The site emphasizes the role of parenting coordination and states:

“Parenting coordination is a child-focused process for resolving parenting disputes after there is an agreement or order about parenting time, parenting responsibilities, or contact. Parenting coordinators can be legal advisers, mental health professionals, social workers, family therapists, mediators, or arbitrators.”

Moreover, for more information on Co-parenting, visit The circle of MA’s advice to your new harmonic parenting dynamic.

The Bottom Line

A divorce need not necessarily be ugly. It’s true children face trauma and anxiety initially, but the smoother the transition is to co-parenting, the easier it will be for the children to overcome challenges. As for the parents, the fact that children are now being raised in a healthier environment should be the primary concern rather than being exposed to a toxic environment. A bad partner doesn’t mean a bad parent!

The Circle of MA aims to bring hope and light to women who have experienced or is currently going through unpleasant journeys.  We offer a haven for women to unleash their strength. With our true stories and inspirational podcasts, we provide a space for you to breath and to connect. Please reach out to us  if you want to share your story to empower other women who is thriving through their moment of journey

Share this post