Common Co-Parenting Challenges and How to Overcome Them

As child custody attorneys, we often see co-parenting from a different perspective. Immediately following divorce is probably the most difficult time for you as a parent. When you share custody of your children, there will be countless times when the child must transition from one household to another. The physical distance between the two parents is almost irrelevant.

In other words, even if you and your spouse live ten minutes from one another, the child will still have to temporarily say goodbye to one of the people they cherish. This can cause your child to have conflicting emotions. They may be ecstatic that they get to see one of their parents, but they may also feel a degree of guilt for feeling that way. 

To help you and your child navigate the co-parenting challenges, we will outline the mindset you can adopt. 

Five Actionable Co-Parenting Tips

Co-parenting challenges are often easier to overcome if you stand together as parents. We know you have lost your romantic connection as partners. However, you must work together to make your co-parenting relationship a success.

Here are a few co-parenting tips you can try.

#1: One House, Two Locations

Although you and your spouse will be in separate houses, and you will likely act more like a guest in the other person’s space, your child doesn’t need to act and feel the same way. Children tend to feel most comfortable when there is structure in co-parenting because they know what to expect. You and your spouse should arrive at certain constants and be a united front.

For example, the rules in your house must reflect those in the other parent’s house. This could include the following:

  • Bedtimes
  • Where and when your meals are eaten
  • Shower and hygiene routines
  • Screen time allotments 

#2: Focus on Your Child

One co-parenting tip every parent must remember is never to put their child in the middle of you and your co-parent. Children can be more emotionally sensitive than adults. They shouldn’t have to hear their parents being bitter about each other. Don’t forget, your ex-partner is a part of your children, and children of all ages will have a hard time not taking insults to their parents personally. The divorce is already hard enough for them to deal with.

Your child should feel free to talk about their other parent in your presence. Though you should never try to gain information about the other parent through your child, the child should feel comfortable enough to tell you they miss their mother or father, and you should empathize with them.

You may no longer be together, but you and your former spouse are bonded as parents forever. The stronger your co-parenting relationship, the more comfortable your child will feel regardless of physical location. 

#3: No Long, Emotional Goodbyes

Saying goodbye to someone you love can be emotionally overwhelming and physically painful. As in all cases, remember to put your children first. It may seem counterintuitive, but you shouldn’t have long, emotional goodbyes during pickup/drop-off routines.

Though you may never want to let go of your child, they may feel that by leaving you, they are causing you to be sad. That may be accurate, but they shouldn’t have to carry that burden. That’s one more critical co-parenting tip you can’t ignore.

You may want to tear up or cry, but you should exercise these feelings away from your child or even with a professional mental health counselor. For the benefit of your child, keep the mood happy and upbeat.

#4: Communicate with Your Ex

This may seem obvious, but communication is often the biggest co-parenting challenge. Many divorced parents share a strained relationship, especially if it has been a long marriage. On many occasions, it would be too much for you to talk matter-of-factly with your ex. However, you must find a way to communicate amicably with each other for the benefit of your children.

Positively interact with your former partner by sharing relevant information. For example, tell your spouse if the child scraped their knee on the playground or discovered a newfound passion for something like drawing.

Communication strengthens your relationship and is a way of passing the baton to the other parent. Give your child a quick glimpse of how you and your former partner work together as a united team. This seemingly small step can go a long way in helping your child cope with the divorce.

#5: Seek Help When Needed

When we say get help, we aren’t just asking you to speak with a child custody attorney. Of course, your lawyer can help you through the legal side of this journey. However, you should seek help from a mental health counselor, if needed, as well, for you and your children.

A counselor can help you see things differently and provide a safe place to discuss your emotional struggles and problems. You can also join support groups for divorced parents. Moreover, remember to practice self-care. Everything will fall into place if you are mentally fit.  

Get the emotional support when you need it most. It will help you stay strong through these complicated and challenging times.

Speak with a Compassionate Child Custody Attorney 

Whether it was an amicable or contested divorce, co-parenting is not going to be an easy task. Many parents find it challenging to accept it, let alone children. But with the emotional support and these co-parenting tips, you should be able to weather the storm.

At C. Alvarez Law, we want to lay the foundation that sets you up for long-term success. We never lose sight of how you need to develop a co-parenting relationship with your former partner and how your actions during your divorce or paternity case can hinder or enhance it.

With that in mind, we will guide you through alimony, child support, time-sharing issues with your children, and any other hurdles we must overcome together. Contact our office to schedule your consultation today.

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C. Alvarez Law

C. Alvarez Law is a Central Florida-based law firm that helps families find resolutions to their most complex family law issues. We are dedicated to providing the support and advice you need for a positive outcome and a better life. Before you can move on with your life, you need closure. Our firm is diverse, energetic, and passionate about delivering this for the clients who have placed their trust in us. Let’s work together today to find a better tomorrow.

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