10 Parenting & Co-parenting tips to help divorced parents with the many challenges and difficulties of raising children together after a divorce or separation.
1- Maintain healthy lines of communication with the other parent. Whether it may be via text, telephone, email, or a monitored software, keep these lines open and practice good communication principles with the other parent, such as being courteous, patient, empathetic, and keeping the goal of the conversation in check at all times.
2- Communicate and be consistent about rules as much as possible. Even if your parenting styles differ, try to strive to maintain consistency between homes. Don’t think that by taking away rules the sterner parent has put in place will make your child happier or help you earn “parent points.” This can end up being detrimental to your child's development in the long run.
3- Do not bad-mouth the other parent in front of the children and don’t let them disrespect the other parent when with you. Further, do the best you can to prevent third parties (other family and friends) from bad-mouthing the other parent in front of the children.
4- Learn to compromise for the sake of the kids. Remember that co-parenting is not about the other parent getting away with his or her way. It’s about what is best for your child. So, before you say no to the other parent's request, think if this is the best answer for your child; not the other parent.
5- Beware of the fact that children can be master manipulators and try to play one parent against the other. Don’t let your kids manipulate and escalate situations so they can get their way. Even if this means that you may need to team-up with the other parent.
6- Remember to keep the other parent in the loop or develop a way for the other parent to stay informed about the children’s academic improvement or decline, as well as their health and medical needs; in most cases, this is required with Shared Parental Responsibility. Don’t wait until the other parent “finds out” accidentally this can often create needless friction.
7- Make a conscious decision not to ever make of your children a “tool” against the other parent. Do not use the children to “get back” at the other parent.
8- Don’t share your emotional baggage with your children, they are not equipped to handle it and it will most likely make them stressed, sad, and anxious. That’s what your therapist is for.
9- Don’t jump to conclusions and condemn when the other parent does something until you have all the facts and understand his/her reasoning, circumstances, or goal. Good communication with the other parent can often resolve most issues.
10- Promise to yourself not to do or say anything that you may have to ask your child to hide from the other parent or cause them to lie to the other parent. Parents should not be using the children as their secret keepers and doing so places the children in positions of having to choose a parent, which only causes them detriment.