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How Do You Coparent?

Updated: Feb 9

So, you had the honor of bringing a child into this world, yet the relationship between parents has gone stale. What do you do now? For many, coparenting is the new normal.

One of the most common definitions of co-parenting is a joint effort agreed upon by the parents to establish methods for raising their child. Coparenting should take into consideration the needs of the child such as but not limited to: schooling, financial expenses, how holidays will be spent, what days the child will be at each home. Every co-parenting situation is perfect because parents are always in agreement as to how the childrearing will look, WRONG! Co-parenting can actually take you through hoops and turns if you can’t develop a healthy medium for your child. That’s why it’s crucial to be objective throughout the process in order to ensure the best possible outcomes for the child’s development.

Parents Inc. suggests that boundaries are paramount to how coparenting will look; their list of some suggested boundaries are as follows:

  1. Set a schedule for visitation; this will require parents to be punctual and reliable

  2. Create and execute a parenting plan; it is recommended that parents take into consideration custody, how fiscal responsibilities will be shared, and all decision making that will mold how the child is raised

  3. Ignore your ex when they are being emotionally immature by reminding them of your agreed co-parenting plan and immediately disengaging

  4. Treat your coparenting relationship like a business agreement

  5. Do not bad mouth the other parent

Now that you’ve taken the time to better understand how to shape your own co-parenting situation, you’ve probably feel ready to conquer this situation; I know I didn’t! Because, what about non existent relationships with the other parent? Or what about parents who don’t have the means to properly be there for their children? Meddling family members who make things worse? Below are testimonials from real women who have faced hardship in this area. For purposes of protecting their privacy, we will call these ladies single mom A and B.

Single mom A: “I can’t co-parent with ease because my child’s grandmother keeps hindering my child’s father from taking accountability and stepping up for his kid.”

Signs of a controlling mother who may attempt to meddle in your affairs can be

  • Offer you unsolicited advice

  • Criticize your decisions about your relationships, career, or money

  • Openly disagree with your parenting or housekeeping style

  • Try to make you feel guilty if you disagree with her advice, or “guilt trips”

Web MD also states that “When you have kids, your controlling mother may turn into an interfering grandparent, Gardenswartz says. “It may be very hard for some grandparents to not judge you for how you’re raising your children. They may have a conflict about how you set your child’s feeding or nap time,” she says. If you rely on your mother to help with babysitting, she may not want to follow your rules on when to put the child down for a nap, for example.”

Single mom B: “I couldn’t co-parent because for some time I felt an emotional disconnect between my kids and me”

Proper mental health in and of itself is monumental for everyday functioning. However, the expectations of parenting can be so overwhelming that it disrupts even the healthiest of lifestyles. Some parents find themselves becoming “emotionally immature”, thus lacking adequate skills in forming relationships with their children. According to Pamela Li, an emotionally immature parent is one who is “self-centered, moody, impulsive, controlling, and intrusive. They lack empathy and have difficulty with emotional regulation. Their unreliable emotional support and lack of sensitivity do not instill trust or security in their children.”

Then, there’s me; I am part of the 23%. Per Census data, "23% of children (under the age of 18) in the United States live with one parent and no other adults." For me, this decision was not by choice, but by necessity. When co-parents refuse to be consistent in a child's life or relinquish their responsibilities altogether, it is difficult to co-exist. Moreover, my training as an educator has shown me the effects of poor presence in a child's life such as behavioral issues, challenges with emotional coping, and feelings of abandonment. That being said, I have chosen to provide my child with an environment that is harmonious as to avoid issues later. However, my faith in God reminds me daily that it will not be like this forever because one day I will be married. Thus, providing my child with the appropriate father figure and family that she deserves.

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There are so many scenarios in different situations!! It's great to have different points of views...and understanding...

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