Co-parenting is a challenge, but may be rewarding

When you and your spouse decide to co-parent your children after divorce, it's a great step in the right direction for your children's care. However, there are some do's and don'ts of co-parenting following a divorce.

The reality is that co-parenting can cause a lot of stress. You and the other parent must determine how to raise your child even when the other person isn't there. It's like being on the same team, but you also have to follow the same, or similar, rules.

How can you resolve problems when co-parenting?

Problem-solving is an important part of co-parenting. There are two kinds, social-psychological and strategic problem solving. With strategic problem solving, you look exactly at the issues that are happening.

You look at behavior issues your child is having or at the co-parenting issues that could be causing those problems. The point of strategic problem solving isn't to fix the emotional issues causing these problems but to find ways of addressing them from an objective standpoint.

With social-psychological problem solving, the difference is that co-parents have to focus on the emotional causes of an issue. You may have to look at your own attitude toward parenting or toward the other person to resolve conflicts.

What can you do to make co-parenting easier?

To make co-parenting a child easier, you need to commit to having strong communication with your ex-wife or ex-husband. You must be able to communicate in a positive way through face-to-face communication, voicemail, texts or emails. You may even be able to use online apps or websites to manage visitation or schedules.

Another thing to do is to create a plan for your extended family. If there is, for example, a person that neither of you are comfortable with your children or child being around, write it down. It's important for both parents to agree about the people to whom your children are exposed.

Finally, know that co-parenting can be challenging, but that it often has a positive outcome when parents work together. It's not always easy to work with someone you divorced or separated from, but at the end of the day, it's your children who need you both to get along.

You can move on in your personal lives while maintaining a civil relationship for the sake of your children, and that's the goal of any co-parenting arrangement.

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