Being a single parent is not an easy job. By default, you assume the role of both the mother and the father and are charged with the task of raising a child without the benefit of the support and love of their other parent. What is also an extremely tough job is to co-parent. When you have to involve, consult with, and include another parent who lives outside of the home it can be a challenge.
As a divorced mother of three, I find myself having difficulty with this on many occasions. I more often than not will refer to myself as a single parent; a term which my ex-husband does not agree with. And the truth is, it really does not apply because – although he does not live in the same home as our children – he is present, involved, and a part of their everyday lives. Through my experience, I have learned strategies that have been very beneficial to my co-parenting arrangement.
The following are my best tips for successfully co-parenting your child:
Put your feelings to the side – You are not the most important person in this situation; your child is. No matter how your ex may behave, you have to remain level-headed and singularly focused on your child’s well-being. Never pursue decisions related to your child’s care based on personal vendettas or past hurts.
Never put your children in the middle – If you aren’t friendly enough for phone calls then stick to text messages or emails. Never ask your child to pass messages back and forth. You also must avoid having disagreements in front of your child. Never put your child in a position to choose between their mom and dad. It’s not fair. To them, or to you.
Communicate with your children, often – One of the most important things is communicating with your children often. Invite them to share their feelings and to let you know when they are uncomfortable or sad. Help them to understand the situation and how best to work through it.
Be Consistent – Consistency is key to making a co-parenting arrangement work. You have to set consistent schedules, be consistent in disciplining, and ensure that you and your ex are consistent in your joint approach to dealing with the various parenting issues that regularly arise.