5 Tips for Successful Co-Parenting

by | May 22, 2024 | Children, Custody, Divorce, Family

Having a good co-parenting relationship with your ex is important for your children’s well-being. Most people don’t consider the fact that their relationship with their ex will continue well beyond their children reaching the age of majority.

A good co-parenting relationship will set your children up to have balanced, happy upbringings. Here are five tips to help ensure you and your ex-partner maintain a successful co-parenting relationship:

1. Always remember your children’s needs come first.

This tip is number one because it is the most important. Just because your relationship with your former partner did not work out, does not mean your children need to suffer for it.

Parents must be able to set aside their differences and show their children that their needs are what matters the most. Children will have the best opportunity to thrive in a peaceful, consistent, stable environment. Never use your child as a pawn or tool of manipulation against the other parent.

This will only lead to problems and will cause lasting trauma on your children. You all may no longer be a family unit, but you can still work as a team to make sure that your children are still surrounded by love and support.

2. Communicate respectfully with one another.

This is one of the most basic rules of co-parenting, and the way for it to be most successful is to understand how you and your ex-partner best communicate. Some former couples are only able to communicate via text, email, or other digital messaging platforms and that is perfectly acceptable.

Others can handle in-person discussions better. What’s important is making sure that whatever method of communication you
choose to utilize you keep open. It is detrimental to weaponize information regarding your children because the only ones ultimately hurt by this are your children.

No matter how upset you may be with the other parent, giving them the silent treatment or deliberately withholding information about your children is never the solution.

3. Try your best to stick to your new schedule/routine.

Sticking to your new visitation schedule will not only help you better organize your own time, but it will also help your children maintain a sense of stability and security. While flexibility is important, when necessary, constantly shifting and straying from your routine can cause your children to feel out of balance.

It is their routine and their life that ultimately suffer because they are the ones being shuffled from place to place. There are
always going to be circumstances where a plan must change, and it may be at the last minute, but that doesn’t need to be a habit.

Children need to know that they can count on where and who they’ll be with regularly to maintain stability.

4. Do not bad mouth the other parent.

It is commonly included in divorce or custody agreements that neither parent will disparage the other, or allow others to do so, in front of their children. This can be difficult to follow and enforce, though, because when someone has made your life difficult it is natural to want to vent about their behavior.

Doing this in front of your children, though, can have some pretty serious consequences. When you speak negatively about the other parent, you’re teaching your children that it is okay to be disrespectful, and whether you intend to or not, you are shifting your children’s
perceptions of the other parent.

Instead, save your venting for a friend or therapist, and try to make more of an effort to highlight your co-parent’s good qualities. This will make your children feel safe and comfortable speaking about the parent who isn’t present without hurting your feelings.

5. Leave your children out of adult decisions.

It can be challenging for newly single parents to blur the parent/child relationship line and make the mistake of treating their children like a friend – especially if any of their children are older and more independent. However, bouncing decisions off children or discussing adult topics with them can lead to an imbalance in the parent/child relationship dynamic.

When children have too much power and input in adult decisions it can lead to poor choices by the children, loss of respect for the parent (or other adults), and an increase in their stress and anxiety levels. Kids are meant to be kids.

Allow them to have a voice when it is appropriate, but make sure you are not involving them in adult topics, like finances or parenting issues.


Author: Anna Eden

Attorney Anna Eden is a native of Mobile, Alabama. Prior to joining Herlihy Family Law, Anna worked as a law clerk for Circuit Court Judges Michael Windom and Michael Sherman. It was during her time clerking for Judge Sherman that Anna discovered her passion for helping people navigate the complex and emotional issues involved in family law.

Anna aids in the representation of individuals across a variety of family law issues, including divorce and child support, juvenile law, child custody law, probate, and wills.