Reaching Parenting Agreements as Co-Parents
Co-parenting isn't something that will come naturally for every parent immediately after a divorce. It can be hard to know exactly how to move forward in raising your children together after having just separated from the other person that your kids depend on the most. Certified Divorce Coach Karen Bigman considers this topic in a recent article in which she poses the question, "How do you co-parent during or after a divorce when you're not particularly good at 'co' anything?"
Divorce is hard for the whole family to experience, children included. It creates a massive shift in the family dynamic and can leave everyone wondering when things will start to feel normal again. Parents may experience feelings of guilt for having put their kids through this situation. Because of their guilt, they may hesitate when it comes to setting rules or doing things that could potentially upset their children even more.
However, life doesn't stop after divorce, and children need some structure in their lives to thrive and move forward. As Karen explains, "In the case of young children, their routines are turned upside down as it is with divorce, the more you can keep things simple and regulated, the better they'll do."
In her article, "Co-Parenting, Can Ex's Ever Align?" Karen asks parents to consider how they will set rules and standards for their children when raising them from separate households. She suggests that parents discuss what the core standards that their children need are and how those will be upheld in both of their homes. Considering that some parents may not be able to come to agreements on everything, Karen proposes that parents write and compare lists of what they each believe to be most important for their children.
No matter how parents go about this, she asks that parents keep their children's best interests at heart and work to find some compromise in the areas where they do not agree. "Keeping your children safe and minimizing their stress during a very tumultuous time for them is the most important thing you can do," Karen explains. "By having consistency between the two households you have a better chance at successful co-parenting and ultimately a happier, healthier child."
When raising children in separate households, parents should communicate in such a way that not only keeps them informed but also helps them both to uphold the rules and standards that they have agreed are important for their children. The OurFamilyWizard® toolset offers features that let co-parents share schedules, track child-related expenses, document agreements, and much more. It provides a neutral space in which they can discuss parenting matters and mediate agreements together while having everything thoroughly recorded in one secure location. With less time spent trying to remember what the agreement was, there will be more time left to focus on the children. Learn more about how OurFamilyWizard® can help move your family forward.