Tips for Co-Parenting
Let’s face it: from the bliss of standing at the altar as newlyweds to the joy of a healthy baby in the delivery room as new parents, no one thinks about co-parenting when they begin their life as a couple. From learning swaddling techniques to warming bottles to coping with sleepless nights, there’s a lot going on as new parents— and the idea that one day you’ll be a co-parent, arguing over drop-off times and holiday visitation schedules, doesn’t usually play a part.
Plus, throwing in the reality that you’re now sharing your children with your ex-spouse’s new significant other— your new co-parent, who was never designed to be a part of the parenting plan when you first set out to have kids— is enough to stress even the most even-keeled parent.
So how do you function best as a co-parent? Here are three tips from a team of family lawyers:
- Be courteous. Remember ‘the Golden Rule’? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Or, loosely translated for our times: be nice. It really can be that simple. Your co-parent is likely facing all the stresses you are: parenting children that came with no instructional manual; working a job to make ends meet at the end of the month; ensuring the safety of your family during a pandemic; putting a nutritious meal on the table at the end of the day; and trying to find a moment to take a shower, binge that favorite TV program, or enjoy a cup of coffee in silence.
- Be flexible. Everything changes, whether we want it to or not. Especially with children, plans are upended, schedules are in flux, and calendars are constantly rewritten. Work with your co-parent to ensure a fair and flexible way of maximizing everyone’s quality time with your children. If you remember that your co-parent’s goal is the same (to parent smartly; to get through the day; to create good memories as a family) you can show flexibility so that everyone gets to enjoy family time as a family. Plus, you can enjoy your alone time when the kids aren’t with you!
- Be kind. Above we talked about being courteous, but being kind is going the extra step. Sense that your co-parent is having a bad day? Offer to buy them a cup of coffee and listen. Remember that it’s your co-parent’s birthday next week? Help your children make or buy them a gift— and stick a card in the mail from you. These are just a couple of things we can do to show that we care.
Raising children is hard. Realize your co-parent is in the same boat as you and help them out. It’ll make your life, their life, and your kids’ lives better.
If you are in need of further advice and would like to speak with a family lawyer in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, then a family law firm like Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O’Cathain & O’Cathain, LLC can be of assistance.