For those that are new to co-parenting, or even those that have been in a co-parenting relationship for awhile, it's a great time to get back to basics. What is it? Who is it for? What does it mean? You get the idea. Let's jump into class:
What is it?
Co-parenting is a collaboration between the caretakers of children to ensure the best decisions possible are made for the children and their loved ones.
It's that simple. It's a collaborative effort and it includes more people than many co-parents want to acknowledge. It means that sometimes there is more than 1 good decision and that the decision that's chosen for everyone involved isn't yours. It means that sometimes you will have to fight harder than you'd like for a decision you know is right, but it also means that you are always a part of your kid's lives. It means that directly or indirectly, there are other influences who will have a say in your children's lives (e.g. stepparents, grandparents, teachers, therapists, etc.), but that isn't always a bad thing. The more strengths you can pull together for the sake of your kids, the better it is for them, right?
Who is co-parenting for?
Co-Parenting is for the kids. It's a way to ensure they feel safe and that their parents and those that love them are looking out for their best interests rather than the parent's own interests.
Co-Parenting is not for every parent, however. There are some couples who won't be able to make true co-parenting work, in which case, parallel parenting is the answer. Limiting interaction with your co-parent can be the answer in abusive situations, with narcissistic or borderline personalities, and/or when you are not able to move past the pain and hurt that comes with divorce. Parallel parenting works for the duration of the child's adolescence and it turns into co-parenting for others after a number of years.
What does it take?
Co-Parenting takes respect, the ability to swallow your pride, and more patience than I can explain in a single blog post. Co-Parenting takes compromise, communication and a transition from a personal relationship to a business relationship.
Co-Parenting takes time to master, and some never master it. Co-Parenting takes practice and the knowledge to know that sometimes things will work well and sometimes they won't.
At the end of the day, there's so much more to co-parenting than what's listed here, but this is a good start. As you look through the rest of this site and others, you'll see where there are issues with co-parenting and some support for what you may be dealing with.
Comment below with what co-parenting means to you!