Co-Parenting Defined

Here is the first weekly podcast talking about and giving tips for Co-Parenting.  You can also find this in the iTunes Store.  The script for this podcast is below, but please note that the script is not the same as the transcript:

Hello everyone!  I’m Karen Becker.  I am a Life/Parent Coach who specializes in helping people understand co-parenting and be the best co-parent they can be.  I have a Master’s Degree in Counseling and worked in a few different counseling areas, but realized that my strengths lie in helping people build their futures rather than working through the past.  I believe in starting where you are and building the best possible future you can dream.  Besides my formal education, I am divorced and have 3 children with my co-parent.  I just remarried and have a step-daughter with my husband.  We are a blended family and I am a co-parent in a few different ways.  After years of teaching Co-Parenting courses as well as my own personal experiences, I have seen and heard a lot.  If there is a topic you would like addressed, comment and let me know either through my website,, on facebook at karenbeckerlifecoach or in the comments section below. 

With all that said, let’s start with defining co-parenting!  What is it?  It’s an ugly term that is getting more and more press as our divorce rates continue to stay in the higher range.  Co-Parenting is a term used to describe two or more people working together to raise one or more children.  Let’s break that apart.  Two or more people.  What does that mean?  It’s not just Mom and Dad, it may be biological Mom, Foster Mom and Foster Dad.  It may be biological Mom, StepDad and biological Dad.  It may be husband and wife.  There are so many examples of different ways to co-parent and I don’t think society’s general understanding of it does it justice.  For the purposes of this broadcast, a lot of what we talk about will be based on the traditional definition where Mom and Dad are no longer living together, whether it be due to divorce or a breakup.

So what does co-parenting look like?  In a perfect world, it sticks with the definition and it’s a collaborative effort to create the best life for the children involved.  That’s all very general and easy to say.  Based in my experience, I can tell you that I have seen some of the best co-parenting from some of the worst co-parents.  I’ve seen some of the worst co-parenting from some of the best co-parents.  It may be easier to talk about what co-parenting is not.  It is not a competition.  There isn’t a prize when your children grow up to the best parent.  It’s not about giving or receiving validation from anyone.  It’s not being bullied or being a bully.  It’s not about poor communication on the giving or receiving end.  Ignoring or being ignored is not co-parenting.  It’s a way to work together for the sake of the children involved.  I do know this is not entirely in your control, but as we go on with these podcasts, I can tell you that it is definitely more in your control than you may think.  Open your mind and your heart, keep your children front and center and you’ll be amazed what you can change!

When are we co-parenting?  This happens all the time.  Placement or not, you should be working together with your co-parent.  My husband and I had placement of his daughter this weekend, which happened to be right before school started.  We were able to reach out to his co-parent to let her know what worked for us with bedtime.  We were also able to say that we are open to hearing what works for her, too, so that we can be as consistent as possible for my step-daughter.  In traditional co-parenting roles, there are times you don’t have placement, but that doesn’t mean communication and collaboration should stop.  Again, this is about what works for the two of you and it may not be ideal right now, but start where you’re at and keep moving forward.

So where are we co-parenting?  This is something that is different for everyone involved.  My co-parent and I talk about on the phone about 3 times/year.  We text or email outside of that and it works.  My husband and his co-parent started solely on Our Family Wizard and transitioned into texting.  For others, it’s 100% on email and for others, still, it’s a variety of all methods and ways to communication – in person or not.  The trick is to figure out what works for you two.  For one of you, it may feel safer to co-parent only in writing and that’s ok!  For your co-parent, he/she may want to keep everything in writing whereas you would rather have all communication lines open, but that’s ok for your co-parent to want that, too!  Remember, this isn’t a competition and you may be feeling ready for all lines of communication to open, but your co-parent isn’t.  As we go on with these podcasts, we’ll definitely talk about ways to make sure you build on what’s already there. 

Why do we co-parent?  Again, I’m going to go back to the traditional definition of co-parenting and that it’s Mom and Dad no longer living together.  This is likely the first major crisis of your child’s life.  Do you remember the first major life issue you had as a child?  It stuck with you didn’t it?  For me, it was deaths in the family.  My grandmother passed away when I was very young and I remember trying to understand what that all meant.  The same goes for your child.  The life they once knew is no longer their life.  That is reason in itself to co-parent, but I believe it goes deeper than that.  Our children learn how to argue and how to handle stressors and difficult people in their lives by watching how we are with our co-parent.  How do we want them to handle things like this when they get older?  This is always something to keep in mind when your buttons are being pushed!

Finally, how do we co-parent?  That is the point of my Co-Parenting course and we will touch on things that work and don’t work in upcoming podcasts.  Each one of you has a different story and what works for one will not work for the other.  We will try and build on what does work and continue learning from that, building the best co-parenting relationship you can have for the sake of your children.  As we will learn together, co-parenting isn’t only about the children, it’s also taking care of yourself and, in order to be the best PARENT you can be, you need to create goals to rebuild your life. 

Please feel free to comment below with any topics you would like to see addressed.