Co-parenting is one option that parents who aren’t in a relationship have for raising their children. Fathers who consider this option should be ready to work hard to make the arrangement work. Co-parenting means that you will still have to deal with your ex a lot more than what you would have to if you opted for a traditional child custody arrangement. The benefits of co-parenting might outweigh the work that you have to put into it, so make sure that you think about your child when you make the decision.
#1: Watch your emotions
Your emotions can make the arrangement more difficult than what it has to be. Prepare yourself for each situation that might occur so that you can think about how you will handle it. This sets a good example for your child because he or she can see that it is possible to work through issues that are difficult or challenging.
#2: Aim for consistency
Some children, especially younger children, need consistency. Keeping major rules and schedules the same at your house and your ex’s house might help these children. This requires work from you and your ex. As your child gets older, you can probably change some points up so that they aren’t exactly the same at both houses. Be forgiving of slip ups if they occur because of differing rules.
#3: Prepare for disagreements
Disagreements are bound to occur at some point. Think about how you are going to handle these. In fact, you might opt to include a plan in your parenting agreement so that you have information about what will happen. Planning ahead for this can help to save you some stress later.
#4: Think about your child
Your child must remain the focus of the co-parenting agreement. Make sure that you think about what is best for your son or daughter. Working through issues with your ex should be done when your child isn’t present. This can help to make the entire process easier for everyone.
#5: Embrace the time you have together
Embrace the time you have with your child, even when your ex is there. You can set the tone for an outing or special event, so prepare yourself to remain happy and ready to build memories that last.
#6: Ease the transitions
Make the transition from one house to the other easier for your child. Ideally, you and your ex-wife can work out a plan so that the parent who has the child drops the child off to the parent who is getting the child. This can help children prepare for the exchange.