Successful co-parenting requires emotional intelligence. This specific skill may be the best means for putting forth a common goal: raising good kids to the best of your ability. Co-parenting means something different for each family. Competing with your ex-partner, speaking badly about them to your child, and refusing to co-operate are all signs of emotional immaturity. In simple terms: helping your partner will only benefit your child. Focusing your attention on the positive influence you have will demonstrate your ability and willingness to collaborate. Keep in mind that everything cannot be in your control, and that is why you must remove your ego.
Here are four boxes to check when evaluating your co-parenting relationship:
Directives that advise parents to “keep emotion out of it,” do not always feel realistic nor are they well-received as parents jump hurdles on two different tracks. Emotions are naturally occurring experiences that are likely to arise during the process of co-parenting. Seeking support outside of your family unit will help you run things like a well-oiled machine. Most importantly, securing outside emotional support will prevent burdening your child with your adult feelings. Venting to or putting your child in the middle of any existing conflicts should be avoided at all costs.
Compromising with an ex-partner might feel like a needle being pushed too far. While establishing boundaries is an important step in designing an effective co-parenting relationship, your flexibility is also needed. Remember that your flexibility is not always necessarily to benefit the other parent, but adding ease in your child’s transitions between homes. Choosing flexibility will also allow you to be gentle with yourself. Give yourself permission to ask for their flexibility in return. Adding flexibility to your scheduling can benefit your responses to unexpected changes. In other words, extend grace to yourself and others.
Keeping one another updated on school events, your child’s development, and emotional needs, is an important method of staying aligned with shared parenting goals. Give the gift of insight to your co-parent so they are best prepared to meet your child’s needs. Use positive language and say thank you often. Demonstrating positive communication in front your child will help establish new norms and model your best behaviour. Offering solutions instead of criticism will elevate your co-parenting communication.
Parallel parenting is an option for parents that simply cannot co-parent without conflict. This form of co-parenting involves minimal contact with comprehensive plans for parenting in order to maintain limited interaction. While this may seem extreme, some families find themselves better off limiting their communication to email or even parenting apps. Parallel parenting is commonly practiced after toxic or abusive relationship has finally come to an end. This form of co-parenting seems to mitigate the risks of emotional turbulence; however, individuals must make sure to avoid any lingering rumination about the relationship.
Don’t hesitate to recruit emotional allies to support you and listen to your vulnerabilities. If flexibility and communication can function without ego, you will be successful in your co-parenting endeavors. Building self-awareness is the first step towards planning. Ultimately, the best security that you can create for your child is through demonstrated mutual respect for one another.