Co-parenting — that is, sharing parenting responsibilities when the parents live apart — is extremely difficult and also extremely important. If your children are to enjoy their childhood as they should, and grow into emotionally healthy and happy adults, your ability to successfully co-parent is the most important factor in making those things happen.
The infographic below, Co-Parenting 101: Your Guide to a Healthy Family, lays out the magnitude of co-parenting in the U.S., and provides crucially important tips for being a responsible and effective co-parent.
It is not an easy task. When parents go through a divorce or separation, emotions are sure to run high, sometimes well beyond the boiling point. When that happens, it is all too easy to let that emotion spill over into verbal and nonverbal communication with the child. When children get caught in the emotional crossfire, they suffer wounds that linger for years, and in some cases, forever.
Compounding the difficulty, expert communication skills are needed to co-parent successfully, even when emotions are kept in check. Most parents involved in co-parenting have not had formal training in interpersonal communication, and thus in many situations cannot be blamed for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time in the wrong way. Nevertheless, keeping in mind the tips outlined in the infographic below, parents can focus on the key principles of effective co-parenting communication and gradually see communication with the former spouse and child improve — perhaps, dramatically.
The chief beneficiaries of healthy co-parenting, of course, are the children. It is well established that having both parents, and perhaps a grandparent or two, involved in a child’s upbringing is potentially the healthiest arrangement — the influence of a mother and father provides the balance a child needs to cope with the world and stay on a positive path all throughout life. However, having both parents involved in parenting becomes a negative of monumental proportions if co-parenting tasks are poorly handled and the child is exposed to an endless torture chamber of hostility, anger and manipulation. Co-parents seldom, if ever, set out to undermine their children in this way, but it can easily happen unless the co-parents appreciate the danger.
It should also be said that healthy co-parenting not only helps the child, but also improves quality of life for the co-parents themselves. When parents see their child flourish rather than flounder, when a conversation with the former spouse becomes a routine part of the day rather than a nightmare, all parties benefit, and parents are better able to grow, expand their horizons and enjoy life. As a first step or important reminder in laying the groundwork for successful co-parenting, continue reading now.
Infographic Created By Goldberg Law Office, Experienced Illinois Medical License Defense Attorney