What is co parenting and how can you make it a good experience? Whether you are just beginning your co parenting journey or you’ve been in it for a while, these tips and tricks can help you in your co parenting journey.
Here’s the truth: co parenting can be complex and a little bit complicated, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a negative experience!
Being part of a blended family myself for the last 7 years has definitely taught me a thing or two about co parenting. And over all those years I have learned so much! We’ve definitely made our fair share of mistakes but we’ve also had some really great successes!
No matter what your situation is, I promise it’s possible for you to have a good co parenting experience with your ex!
Keep reading to learn how!
What is Co Parenting?
If you’re reading this and wondering what co parenting really means, it’s a term to explain the relationship between two separated parents as they parent their child or children.
The key part of this term is “co” is so important. That means that even though your romantic relationship is over, you’ll still be working together as a team to do what is best for your kids, instead of trying to do everything independently.
Although It can be tough overtime you and your kids will see the advantages of building a strong co parenting relationship! Depending on your relationship history, it can be a struggle at first, but setting healthy co parenting boundaries will be key in co parenting.
A healthy co parenting relationship is so important for the well-being of your children!
How to Co Parent
So how do you co parent? Well, when you’re trying to learn how to co parent, you’ll quickly realize that there are a few things you’ll need.
For me, three things have been extremely important for creating a healthy co parenting relationship.
This means respect from and to everyone involved! Respecting each other doesn’t necessarily mean that you are best friends or that you agree on everything. But it does mean that you consider each other’s feelings and interests and take them seriously.
When you’re making decisions, truly respecting each other, the children and other third parties will make everything run smoother. Sure you will still have bumps in the road, but they will become fewer and fewer as you create a better parenting relationship.
Patience is huge in co parenting! Understand that opinions may change, lifestyles may differ, and things may come up in life that affect your parenting relationship.
Be patient with the other parent when these things occur. Remember that this situation is difficult for both of you and try to be understanding when tricky situations come up. I always like to remind myself in these moments it is not about my ex or me it is what is best for the kids. When you keep this mentality it can move mountains when it comes to being patient.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to be willing to openly communicate with each other when co parenting.
However difficult it may be, you’ve got to be willing to talk to each other about schedules, child information, and issues that are happening with the children. This does not mean you need to tell them every intricate detail of what is happening, but you need them to be included. If there is a big sporting event remind them so they don’t miss it. Remember it is always about what is best for the kids not making the other parent look bad.
Having a healthy co parenting relationship is really rooted in being able to discuss these things in a kind and meaningful way. This might be by phone, or text, or even a co parenting app.
Co Parenting Classes
If you feel like you need some extra help getting started working together in a new role with one another, co parenting classes are a great start!
These are especially great if you are feeling overwhelmed with your situation, taking co parenting classes could be a great way to get you both on the same page with some help from an impartial source.
Co parenting classes help you to determine what’s really important for keeping you, the other parent, and your children safe and happy.
Many local organizations, hospitals, and crisis centers have great options for inexpensive classes that you can take together. Check out your local resources to see what works for you we are also seeing more co parenting online options popping up as well!
Creating a Healthy Co Parenting Relationship
Creating a healthy co parenting realationship does not happen overnight nor can we expect it to. It took you a long time to get to know your ex, fall, and love, and then have a child. When you are venturing into co parenting you are having to establish a brand new relationship in a sense. It is about learning and growing together in your new role of parenting partners with no other real attachment to one another.
Tips for Coparenting With a Difficult Person
You may be thinking that all this sounds great in a perfect world, but it’s not always that simple. Unfortunately, you’re exactly right. Sometimes even when you are doing all you can, co parenting can still be a difficult experience.
But there are still things you can do to make the situation better! Here are a few examples of tricky situations and how to navigate them.
Co Parenting With a Narcissist
Co parenting with a narcissist can be a huge challenge, I am not going to lie. First you might be wondering what a narcissist is and how do I work with them as we co parent.
A Narcissist is actually someone who has NPD or Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It is a mental health condition
The traits of a Narcissist are:
- Has a grand sense of self-importance
- Occupied with dreams of huge success, power, beauty, the perfect love, and brilliance
- Feels like they are above all by being unique and feeling like they should only associate with higher level people
- Feels entitled
- Lack of empathy
- Think people are envious of them or constantly envious of other
- Shows arrogant behaviors and attitudes.
This is going to be the advice for many situations, but try to be a bigger person! They are going to think that they are always right and tha theri schedule takes priority. This can be difficult when trying to compromise.
The important thing is to think about what’s most important to you in your parenting. Stand your ground on the important things and give on the lesser issues. Be sure to not let your core values be changed, but be willing to let go of the little things for the sake of your own sanity!
Co Parenting With a Toxic Ex
It’s really important when dealing with a toxic ex to protect yourself when trying to co parent. Have a plan in place so that you can limit your time with them. This may involve having help with drop-offs and pick-ups or having schedules set in a way that you won’t need to be together as often. For instance for school age kids great transition times are one parent drops off at school and then the other parent picks up when their time begins.
But there’s going to be times where you have to be involved. So when those times come, make sure that you focus on your kids, try to stay positive, and set a standard for how you deserve to be treated. It’s okay to make your safety a priority!
Co Parenting With a Jerk
We all at one time or another might think our ex is a jerk and we might think co parenting with a jerk is nearly impossible. If your ex is being a jerk, then be ready to avoid the drama! Unkind people always want you to stoop to their level, but don’t take the bait. Have a plan in place to avoid this at all costs.
Any time you get frustrated, just remember that you are doing this for your kids! And of course, if they become too unkind, you have every right to distance yourself!
Co Parenting With Someone You Still Love
Co parenting with someone you still love is more common than you think and can feel so heavy. You see your ex moving on smiling happy and the one thing you want most is to be happy with them. The important thing if you’re co parenting with someone you still love is to set healthy boundaries for yourself.
Give yourself some space if you need to from the situation until you can move forward, or try to seek out any closure you can get.
Having those feelings affect your relationship can be confusing for your children so you’ll want to be careful!
One of my biggest bits of advice in this process is to really try to focus on the kids. Don’t question the kids about the happiness of your ex, don’t seek out what they are doing on social media, just try to focus on building a new life with your kids. I know this is easier said than done, but over time the love will dissipate and you will be able to co parent even easier.
Co Parenting With a Controlling Ex Wife
Having the other person be controlling is so frustrating when you are trying to parent together! Both of your needs and desires for the children should be taken into consideration and neither of you should be in a situation that you are uncomfortable with.
If you aren’t able to find a way to balance things out yourselves, try working with an impartial third party like a mediator to find a solution that is fair for everyone.
With all these situations, I’m a firm believer that you’re in control of your own life. If you are unhappy, what can you do to make things a little better? You got this!
And of course, the most important thing is to put your kids first! If a situation is stressful for you, they are likely picking up on it. So try to seek out a solution and move forward together.
My 5 Favorite Co Parenting Apps
Something I couldn’t live without as I try to co parent is a great co parenting app! An app that you use with your ex can really help streamline things like schedules, finances and more.
I’ve done tons of research and here’s my 5 favorites and what I love most about them!
- Great reviews – beloved by many
- Includes calendar, messaging, location sharing, expense tracking all in one location
- Addition of a journal feature where you can share notes and picture about your child
- One of the only free applications
- Big on communication: task sharing, messaging, etc.
- Can include third parties like grandparents, lawyers, etc.
- Easy-to-use finance sharing
- Small 3.99 / month fee
- Includes safe storage for things like medical records and other personal documents
- Has all the basics you need like messaging, calendar, and finances
- Includes basics: calendar, messaging, finances,
- Has a journal feature to share notes and memories
- Streamlined and easy-to-use
- It’s free!
- More focused on the emotional side of coparenting
- Includes help with budgeting and parenting plans
- Feature that allows you to set goals for your relationships
With these tips and advice, we hope that your co parenting journey will improve just a bit! Be sure to go visit us on Instagram @micheletripple where I get real with you when it comes to life, marriage, blending families, and co parenting! Be sure you say, “Hi!”