5 Things Co-Parenting Is Not — And How To Address Them

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The struggle is real! When we got married, we envisioned somewhat of a peaceful coming together. That’s not always the case, or reciprocated. But man, if we don’t try to achieve some sense of normalcy in our homes!

So, I thought it was important to cover a few common things seen in co-parenting relationships that aren’t working effectively and efficiently.

What Co-Parenting Isn’t

  1. Making all the decisions yourself.
  2. Choosing not to share important dates and events so you can avoid your ex.
  3. Having your kids report back to you what their visit consisted of/what’s going on with the other parents. 
  4. Streamlining professionals through you so you can modify, manipulate, or choose not to disclose information about the children.
  5. Refusing to seek professional help for your children when/if they struggle having a relationship with their other parents. 

Co-parenting means the parenting responsibilities, burdens, struggles, successes, bonuses, and decisions are shared. Decisions are made collectively between two or more parents, and parents have chosen to work together to parent in the best interest of their children.

mom holds her baby close while carrying bags
Courtesy of Christopher Luther (via Unsplash)

Try Parallel Parenting

It all stops being fun and games when one or more people decide to take it upon themselves to play judge, jury, and executioner. Things get complicated, high-conflict personalities flare, resentments resurface, and we’re back at ground zero.

If this sounds familiar, parallel parenting will work miracles better for you… and maybe you parallel parent for a while until circumstances or situations change.

Rule #1 (and arguably the most important): Always remember, you are not locked into anything. If things aren’t working on paper, look into getting a modification of the parenting arrangement. Make sure you have rules for each situation you’re struggling with in black and white and court ordered. Then, if/when things go sideways, you can seek legal assistance in filing for contempt of the current court order. (Insure you keep excellent documentation of events where things go awry.)

It’s unfair and unbalanced when one parent makes all the sacrifices; regardless of what their title is. Parenting, even if you can’t get along enough to co-parent, can still be equal and fair, allowing each parent to shoulder half of the responsibilities for the children, even while parallel parenting with minimal communication on their time.

No one should feel like they’re the only one making sacrifices. No one should have to make all the sacrifices. Many times responsibilities can be split, but one or more parents feel like they must make all the sacrifices and shoulder all responsibilities. Practice giving up control on the other parents’ time, allowing them to be responsible for the children during their parenting time.

child stands between parents as they all walk holding umbrellas
Courtesy of James X (via Unsplash)

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Heather Leanne. You can follow her journey on Instagram, Facebook, and her blog. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read more from Heather here:

How To Respond To Children’s Questions About The ‘Other Parent’ Without Badmouthing

Co-Parenting Is Not About Perfection, But Consistent Effort

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‘Enough is enough.’ The moment she wrote me back and agreed to a fresh start was a huge relief.’: Moms come together and make amends to co-parent

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