Why co-parenting is no child's play
An amicable break-up is rare, and it’s more of an anomaly when there’s a child involved.
Dealing with the effects of a breakup or divorce is difficult, but there are exceptions and it doesn’t have to be such a tough task. These days it’s refreshing to see exes working as a team and co-parenting.
In a recent video on her lifestyle brand, Poosh, Keeping up with the Kardashians’ Kourtney Kardashian and her ex, Scott Disick, spoke about some of their co-parenting challenges.
Kardashian says one of her biggest challenges was when they both started seeing other people.
She told Disick: “The hardest part was when we both started new relationships (because) that caused fights between you and I about introducing the kids (to their respective partners).”
Kardashian said another challenge for co-parents was trying to keep the same rules in the different households and communicating with each other when the rules changed.
To which Disick replied: “I only want them to want to be at either of our households because of us, not because of what they want to do differently.”
Depending on the nature of the breakup or divorce, co-parenting can be challenging and, in many cases, things can get worse before it gets better. Still, it can be done, especially when the best interests of the child is what motivates behaviour.
Children can be raised in a healthy and stable environment even if the breakup was messy. Like all relationships, it takes maturity and communication.
I can attest to this. My ex and I have been co-parenting our four-year-old daughter since she was four-months-old. However, it’s only in the last two years that we’ve been able to get it right.
There were times when I allowed my anger and bitterness to get the better of me, but I never kept my daughter from seeing her father - and I’m glad I didn’t. Today, my daughter has a great relationship with her father, who she sees every second weekend.
Relationship expert, Paula Quinsee says co-parenting is essential for the well-being of all involved but especially the children.
“Children are the innocent victims, they are not responsible for the break-up of the relationship yet are often the ones caught in the middle.
“In the beginning, when the feelings of hurt were still raw, it’s expected for things to get off to a rocky start. One of my biggest worries was our different parenting styles and the impact it would have on our daughter,” she says.
Quinsee says the key to successful co-parenting is an upfront agreement on the major areas and allowing for some leeway in others.
“No two parents are alike so you will have different ways of doing things. By determining family norms in areas like bedtime, play, personal hygiene and social interactions, you create safety for your children,” she says.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks can be if one of the parents starts a new relationship and a third party becomes part of the co-parenting arrangement.
“Introducing a new partner to your children should not be taken lightly, it’s a big step for your children,” says Quinsee.
Her advice: “Be sure that you are ready to introduce your new partner to your children. It’s important that you let your new partner understand the dynamics between you, your kids and your ex and how things work so that it does not cause frustration and resentment in your new relationship”.
Co-parenting is about clear and direct communication. There’s no room for guessing.