Tips for Successful Co-Parenting

Mother and daughter smiling

Parenting is definitely not an easy task. If you throw divorce into the mix parenting becomes even more complicated if it’s turned into co-parenting. There are many resources that parents and co-parents can turn to in order to help guide them through their parenting journey. Yes, these books may be extremely helpful in theory, but when it comes to actual parenting the best way we learn is by trial and error.

The only parenting tip you’ll ever need

The most important parenting tip that can be given is this: the best way to learn is to be a hands-on parent and to utilize trial and error. Traditional tips that you read about in books and blogs and hear from professionals are great, but they are simply general tips. These general tips may not be appropriate for every situation. In order to really settle into your role as a parent or co-parent the best way to get familiar with your duties and your child is to interact with your child as often as you can.

As a co-parent it is often more difficult to get settled into you role. In addition to your regular tasks as a parent you must now deal with your custody agreement, communicating and coordinating with your co-parent, organizing your custody schedule, and your personal life outside of being a co-parent. All of these things can be very difficult to balance. The best step that co-parents can take to balance these tasks is to dive right into being a co-parent, this way they can try to get used to their new schedule right away. Settling into your role and forming habits takes time.

Getting on the right track to successful co-parenting

Although the best way to become a successful co-parent is to be active and hands-on there are some tips to get you on the right track. These tips will make interacting with your co-parent much easier so that instead of having to deal with conflict you can focus on parenting, and more importantly your child.

Transitioning to your new relationship. You and your co-parent must be able to transition from having an emotional relationship to having a strictly co-parenting relationship. Your new relationship is solely based on your child.

Diffuse the bomb early. Co-parents may not always get along with one another. Conflict between co-parents can be very dangerous for children especially if they are frequently exposed to it. Make your best efforts to diffuse situations that may turn into conflict.

Avoiding hot button issues. You and your co-parent should know each other very well at this point, meaning you know what the “hot button” issues are in your relationship. Similar to the last, try to avoid these issues in order to avoid conflict.

Consistency is key. Consistency is very beneficial to you and your co-parent as well as your child. It will help you to settle into your new lives very quickly. Once you and your co-parent have established an effective custody schedule be sure to stick with it. You and your co-parent must be completely dedicated to it.

Communication is a must. Communication is probably the most important part of a successful co-parenting relationship. If you and your co-parent are able to communicate efficiently and effectively there will be less opportunity for conflicts to arise. Communication can help to make a confusing and difficult situation much more clear and easy-to-understand.

These are just some of the basic tips for successful co-parenting. Yes, these tips are very general but that is the idea. Take these general ideas and put them into action. By doing so you will get the hands-on experience that you need to get comfortable in your role as a co-parent.


NOTE: Many state and federal laws use terms like ‘custody’ when referring to arrangements regarding parenting time and decision-making for a child. While this has been the case for many years, these are not the only terms currently used to refer to these topics.

Today, many family law practitioners and even laws within certain states use terms such as ‘parenting arrangements’ or ‘parenting responsibility,’ among others, when referring to matters surrounding legal and physical child custody. You will find these terms as well as custody used on the OurFamilyWizard website.