Whether you are happily married or have gone your separate ways, you should never stop working as a team to raise your kids to be happy and healthy
As we all know, parents are faced with decisions about how to raise their children. Some decisions are minor---such as, whether children can have something to eat after 8pm. Some are major---such as, which school a child should attend. Sometimes mothers and fathers agree on these matters, but other times they may encounter conflicts. How parents negotiate the way they raise their children and their day-to-day shared parenting responsibilities is called team parenting or co-parenting. The parents might live in the same house or in separate households.
Working together to raise your children can be very complicated and confusing. Each of you will both have different and conflicting ideas about how to pass on values, when and why to discipline and what and when to reward your children. One of you may want to follow what your parents did it, while your partner might prefer to seek advice from friends or parenting books.
Whether the parents are married or divorced or separated, effective co-parenting plays a vital role in the lives of the kids
It is absolutely normal to feel tense and confused, feeling a sense of loss as children move from one stage to another. And it may be that, as parents ,one of you finds a particular stage more complicated or complex than the other. One of you might have had difficulties at that age yourself, but it is important to remember that your children have different personalities; they are not you. They may have a different orientation and intuition about what the problem is, not reacting or behaving in the same way as you would have.
Effective co-parenting is essential to a child’s well-being. Children can feel better about themselves when they do not have to worry about their parents. Children need to experience a strong and cooperative relationship between their parents. They do best when their parents can get along with each other and handle disagreements positively. Mothers and fathers who agree about most parenting issues and who frequently support each other when they don't can create an atmosphere that allows children to be grow up well. In this way, children have the opportunity to focus on what matters to them; school, friends, activities---not their parents’ arguments.
Conflict resolution in Co-Parenting
Conflict is always bound to happen, even in the strongest of relationships. All parents start out with different ideas about family life. Your beliefs can differ on basic parenting issues such as what is “good” or “bad”, and how to raise your children. Children mostly learn from how they see you and your partner interact. Parents should strive to show children that disagreements are a normal part of life while teaching them healthy strategies for coping with and solving conflicts in their lives and the lives of those around them.
If you and your partner can’t agree on an issue, one of you may need to back down or temporarily agree to disagree. Remember that you don’t have to accept or agree with whatever decision your partner makes regarding the children. You and your partner can have certain rules which are unique for your relationship with your children; there can be “Mommy’s rules” and “Daddy’s rules” but there should be unison on the rules.
If your child seeks your support against your partner; like seeking your support to disobey your partner, you can decide to support him or her by validating his actions, reactions and feelings against your partner---this is not right and it should be discouraged. You can help the kid by encouraging him or her to work out the conflict directly with his other parent; you can offer to help him clarify his thoughts and present his feelings in a right way to the other parent. By doing so, you remain objective and you do not take sides
More tips for successful team parenting
- Set aside a regular time to discuss what has been going on and to plan for the future
- If one of the parents wants to try a new approach, he/she should ask the co-parent for support.
- Always accept responsibility whenever a problem arises.
- Don’t hinder with a situation the other parent is handling.
- After the problems have been solved, allow time for constructive criticism.
- Try as much to resolve the differences of opinion (conflict of interest) in private.
About the Author: Rachel Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is also a featured writer for Marriage.com.