Co Parenting A Two Way Street

You have just got a divorce decree in your hand. So, what next? If it was a high-conflict, abusive marriage that ended, it is unlikely that both spouses will be seeing eye-to-eye. But if it was a peacefully ending mutually filed divorce, the relationship is most likely going to be polite and civil. In both instances, what will matter is that children grow up in a healthy emotional environment minus judgments and biases. 

Parenting is a challenge especially during a separation or after a divorce. So, it is normal to see children in a conflicted and confused state of mind. There will be turmoil for a while once two parents decide to part ways. Children will exhibit rebellion and behaviour different from the usual. Experts always say just go by your instincts but most exasperated souls will disagree. I always say, do what you think or feel is right in that situation or moment.  

With each passing year, parenting presents a different set of challenges. It is inevitable that we exclaim aloud “out of syllabus” or say: “Oh I wasn’t expecting this!” There is also a myth that children exhibit different behaviours in all households – single parents/normal families/those who co-parent. But in reality, it is not so. Children’s behaviour is all based on the way we model ourselves as adults. In the end, children need just us – whether in single/or dual form. They just need our love, attention, and trust. So, even if you live in two separate houses, positive parenting or respectful parenting is still possible.

So, what sets both types of parenting apart? In a single-parent house, one parent brings up the child, and in the other, both bring up the child together. In the end, parenting issues remain the same throughout. 


Co-parenting is nothing but parents (separated/divorced) taking joint responsibility for children and their upbringing. Children bear the brunt of most parental conflicts. So, this is an ideal way to bring them up without being affected. It is a very civil arrangement suggested by the law to bring up children in a peaceful environment by both parents as was being done prior to divorce/separation. For instance, in one parent’s absence, the other parent can fill in for various social and school activities or even vacations. In essence, being emotionally and physically available to your children. The only difference would be that the parents will live under different roofs while doing the same. 

So, the thumb rule for co-parenting is to be as amicable and civil with each other. Set aside your egos and feelings while co-parenting. The idea is to create a healthy environment for children sans dragging them into your own conflicts. After all, you are responsible for bringing your progeny into life. Hence the onus to maintain a safe environment for them lies on both of you. It is extremely challenging but if you think of your children as mini extensions of you, you will realize that you will always have a pair of eyes looking up to you and that you cannot let them down at any cost.

Tips for Successful Co-Parenting

1. Positive parenting
It is extremely important to speak about the spouse in good light. Making peace with the past and forgiving help in the process. Even if your terms aren’t amicable, you can still -be polite. The focus must be to raise the child positively sans conflicts. The focus must be to help maintain respect for the other parent in the child’s eyes.

2. Good communication & flexibility
You might be having busy schedules but it is still important to communicate with your ex about any changes in routines and be open to changing schedules according to each other’s convenience. This will reduce unnecessary confrontations in front of children.

3. Keep records of everything
Do have all documents related to your child in place. This will include financial, health, school, and other important documents that may be vital and useful for the child’s future. Always have a backup just in case the records get misplaced.

4. Following a schedule – setting reminders on the calendar 
Having an online calendar helps. Mark important dates so that you do not miss events. There will be lesser disappointments for the children.

5. Avoid conflicts or arguments in front of children
Sort out any problems/conflicts separately. Avoid fights at all costs in front of children. Less confusion for children.
6. Be mentally prepared for questions from children
Make sure you both have honest answers to all questions from children. Most importantly please maintain common answers. It is normal that after a divorce or during separation, children will have doubts regarding your marital status as well as future arrangements for them.

7. Be on the same parenting page  
Always make sure that you are on the same platform when it comes to academics, disciplining, and various decisions related to children. It can be extremely challenging to do this when children are very well aware of conflicts between both of you. Some children can take advantage of conflicts and manipulate statements made by parents. So, it is vital that both think and act in the same way.

8. No bad-mouthing your spouse
Children are extremely observant when it comes to watching your conflicts and relationship with each other and even your relatives. Practice positive parenting. The first step is to speak appreciatively about your ex. Speaking badly about the ex-spouse/partner will lead to prejudices and biases that will colour children’s judgments. These very judgments will form permanent opinions in kids. 

9. Follow your instincts; no set formula for co-parenting
There is no exact pattern or equation to parenting. What works for one may not work for another. Each couple’s or household dynamics are different. So, the only common thread that binds all those who co-parent is civility and mutual respect.

So, chin up, all you single parents! Signing off with this quote: “The best security blanket a child can have is parents who respect each other.”

Follow Priya Rajendran & The Word Route

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