So many parents, both married and single, are deciding whether or not to begin co-parenting. If you’re thinking about taking on co-parenting, it’s important to know the advantages and disadvantages of this new activity.
To be successful co-parenting, both parents need to be committed to it. Most new parents who decide to co-parent their children will end up splitting time between them when they get older. This can lead to a decreased level of involvement from both parents and an increased level of conflict.
A better way to approach co-parenting is to get your children ready for the change in the family structure by making them aware of what’s going to happen when the right time comes. Doing this early will help prevent conflicts over how much time will be spent with the other parent and help your children understand that both parents have to be involved to create a positive atmosphere for the child.
Spending Time With Children: Co-Parenting
One great way to bring up this issue with your children is to begin discussing how much each parent is going to spend on the child, both in money and time. You can talk about the difference between time spent with the other parent and time spent with the child or when the parent is home and how much time the child gets to spend with the other parent.
If the time of day that each parent is spending with the child is more than that of the other parent, you should also discuss this as well. Often times, if one parent is going to be spending more time with the child, the child will feel that they are living at home.
What about if the child is spending a lot of time with one parent? As the co-parent, are you going to be spending more time than the other parent?
Preparing Schedule: Co-Parenting
The best thing to do is to start out with a normal schedule but after some time it may be necessary to set up special times when you and the other parent can spend time together. This can be a good way to feel secure about the fact that you are going to be spending time with your child. And if one parent does the same, the child may be feeling even more comfortable with the idea of co-parenting.
There are three major ways that co-parenting can work in your family. The most common is when there is a joint account, where both parents pay money into a joint account and the child only gets a portion of it. Children will naturally wonder what is going on with the other parent, as they never see the other parent paying money into an account.
In another form of co-parenting, where one parent does all of the cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc., there is no worry that the child is going to come home and find his/her mother busy doing something other than co-parenting. By having one parent do all of these activities, the child is at least feeling like he/she is a part of the family.
Another form of co-parenting involves having each parent take individual responsibilities for the child. This can work well, especially if the child has a long separation and wants to know who is in charge.
When each parent is able to concentrate on a specific responsibility, there is less stress on the child. After all, it is easier to take care of one person, rather than many different people and if one person is handling the parenting duties, there is less stress on the child.
By being careful to set up the expectations properly, and not simply going on autopilot, you can help the child to be able to understand what type of changes they need to make in order to be co-parented. Some children will adjust to a new schedule, while others will not.