Tips For Co-Parenting

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.