How to be a Healthy Co-Parent
More and more families are being established with an untraditional kind of approach, and while there is nothing inherently wrong with choosing to grow apart from one another while at the same time working side-by-side to raise great children, you want to make sure that you are doing things the right way. Co-parenting is an admirable arrangement, but it can be difficult to navigate emotions and stress as you transition from intimate partners to co-parents.
Not all is going to be sunshine and roses when it comes to effectively co-parenting (especially at first). There is, after all, a reason why you split up from the other parent in the relationship. But understanding that your children come first and wanting them to grow up happy, healthy, and well-adjusted is critically important. These tips and tricks from Ottawa Counselling Services can help you and your former partner be the best co-parents you can possibly be.
Never Force Your Child to Choose Sides
The worst thing that you can do is encourage your child or your children to “choose sides,” effectively cutting them off from one whole side of their family in the process.
This is dangerous, destructive, and will put far too much pressure on their delicate and developing personalities. No child should ever be handed the weight of adult decision making. Make sure that both sides of their family are actively involved in allowing the children to enjoy life free of pressure and manipulation.
Always Take a Constructive Approach When Talking About Your Ex
Regardless of how you may feel personally about the other parent of your child or children, you want to be sure that you put on a brave face and a happy spin whenever you are speaking about them.
Your children do not have the same relationship with their parent as you do, and you don’t need to colour their relationship with any shortcomings, drawbacks, or poor decisions that the two of you – as adults – they have been involved in. As the old adage goes, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
Don’t Turn Your Children into Messengers
At the end of the day your children are your children – not messengers, not examples, and not some form of punishment or “bait” for you to use for or against your co-parent.
Accept that the relationship has changed, do everything in your power to maintain a happy and cordial interaction between both co-parents, and make sure that your children and their priorities always come first.
Even if you are no longer together, relationship counselling, couples counselling, and family counselling can be constructive approaches to create a healthy family unit for parents and children alike.