4 Tips on How to Co-Parent Successfully
Don’t get me wrong, a baby is, of course, a beautiful addition to any family, but there is a lot of adjusting to go through when you become a parent. And, raising a kid becomes highly challenging if parents are separated or divorced. But, there are helpful tips for better co-parenting after divorce.
Pre-kids and post-kids phase
Marriage is such a special bond between two people, and there is no denying that the welcoming of kids into your lives is an added blessing. But life will change.
Pre-kids, you are often navigating the waters of managing your careers, plus your time together and reaching your goals in the best way possible.
Post kids, one person becomes a stay-at-home parent and has their world turned inside out, while the other continues what they were doing beforehand while also juggling a new addition.
Everything in your life changes. So how exactly do you manage this? Let’s understand the following tips for successful co-parenting and define our roles as parents accordingly.
Strategies for successful co-parenting
1. Clear expectations
The best way you can combat co-parenting is to have the conversation before you even decide you’re ready for kids, or at least when you are expecting.
Sure, it’s hard to know exactly how your lives are about to change with the arrival of your baby, but you can still sit down and have some discussions around expectations.
Here are some important questions to ask –
- Will the working parent makes it home in time for bed each night? If they can’t, can you negotiate one or two nights a week?
- Will the working parent also take parental leave? If so, when is the best time to take this?
- How will you manage weekends? How can we best share the load?
- Who will be getting up to the baby each night?
- Will the baby be in our room? If so, will the working parent stay, or sleep somewhere else?
- What are our expectations when it comes to nights out?
Nothing needs to be set in stone, but by opening the discussion around these key areas, you are actively agreeing on how you plan to parent.
Once your little one arrives, you will be able to build on this foundation to ease the transition as much as possible.
2. Look out for each other
When it comes to parenting, there can be a lot of tit-for-tatts, ie ‘ I did the feed last night, so it’s your turn tonight’.
Try and turn these conversations into how you can help the other person, as developing a strong love language around parenting will strengthen your relationship together.
For example –
Try asking your partner these questions –
- What can I do to help tonight?
- Would you like a break on the weekend?
Sure, you may not feel like it at the time, but by putting your partner’s wellbeing first, they will then likely reciprocate, developing a strong foundation for you both.
Instead of arguments, you will find yourselves a lot calmer and a lot more accepting of what each other is going through.
3. Everyone’s journey is different
It’s amazing how many people will tell you that you should be parenting equally. The truth is, you have to do what works for you, not what others say should work.
- In some families, the dad doesn’t see the children at all during the week.
- In some families, the mum is a working parent while the dad stays home.
- In some families, the parents work in shifts and each week is different.
You need to find out what works for your family, and if you are the parent home with the child the majority of the time, don’t always expect your partner to pick up where you left off.
Remember, you have had more time to get used to this little addition in your lives, and also remember, that newborns change so much in such a short space of time. Yes, your partner is also a parent, but they need to be eased into things – they don’t have the experience you have behind you.
4. Be kind
Most importantly, be kind to each other.
Lack of sleep can bring out the worst in people, so try not take it out on your partner. If you are ever feeling resentment, anger or frustration, take a deep breath and think of the best way to voice what you are feeling to get the best response.
Parenting is a constantly changing game.
Your relationship will go through many changes with it. Stay strong and united and you will find the journey that much easier.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.