Co-Parenting Definition, Explanations and Guide

Co-Parenting Definition

Co-parenting can be really tough, especially when you and your spouse have had a contentious divorce. However, you’re better able to do it if you know the official co-parenting definition, you can see real-world examples, and you have tips that will make you more successful.

Fortunately, we’re here to give you all three.

Co-Parenting Definition, Explanations and Guide

Knowing what to expect from your co-parenting experience, as well as what real co-parenting looks like and how to put theories into practice, will help you be a better mom or dad to your kids.

Co-Parenting Definition

Technically, co-parenting explains a situation in which both parents share the duties of parenting a child. Kids need stability, consistency and effective communication between their parents, and co-parenting is a great way to achieve these things.

Essentially, co-parenting is a parenting relationship where the parents aren’t romantically involved, but still assume joint responsibility in bringing up their kids. Usually, it’s used to describe people who are separated or divorced (or who were never together in the first place) when those people work together to raise children.

Both parents choose to put aside their personal differences for the sake of the children.

Benefits of Co-Parenting

There are many benefits of co-parenting, including:

  • Stability. When both parents are on the same page and they’re consistent from house to house, the child is more likely to feel stable and safe. Kids who have more stability at home are typically more resilient.
  • Solid relationships with both parents. Kids need the framework that parents set up when they co-parent so they can maintain loving relationships with each adult.
  • Limited “parentification.” The term parentification refers to a child who feels the need to take care of his or her parents’ feelings. Basically, it means the child becomes the parent. When the actual parents can work together for the child, though, the child won’t be as likely to want to take care of his or her parents… because the parents are doing just fine on their own.
  • Conflict resolution. Children learn by example, and if you and your spouse can resolve your conflicts in healthy ways, that’s what your kids will pick up. Kids can learn that they can cooperate with other people, even if they don’t agree with each other, by watching you and your ex-spouse co-parent.

Co-Parenting Examples

Co-Parenting Definition and ExamplesCheck out these examples of co-parenting in action.

#1. Judi and Pat split up just before the holidays, and they built a holiday schedule into their parenting plan. Judi will have the kids for Halloween, according to the parenting plan, but Pat’s employer is putting on a huge trunk-or-treat event that he’d really like to share with the kids. Judi and Pat reach an agreement that he can take the kids to trunk-or-treat, but he’ll have them home in time to trick-or-treat with Judi.

#2. Kathy and Bonnie have twin teenagers who want nothing more than to avoid them and spend time with their friends. Together, Kathy and Bonnie came up with a set of rules governing where the twins can and can’t go, how late they can stay out, and what the consequences are for violating the rules. The rules are the same at both Kathy’s and Bonnie’s houses, and so are the consequences, so the twins always know what to expect.

#3. Angie and David have only one child, and Angie tells David that if their son doesn’t keep up his grades, she’s going to take him out of baseball. David explains why he doesn’t think that’s a good idea, and Angie is open to David’s opinion. Together, they develop a plan to get their son’s grades up and commit to keeping him in baseball for the remainder of the season.

Co-Parenting Tips

Use these tips to make your co-parenting efforts more successful:

  1. Pick your battles. Some things just aren’t worth fighting over.
  2. Be open and flexible with your schedule. Put your kids first when their other parent wants to spend time with them.
  3. Communicate directly with your ex. Don’t use the kids as messengers.
  4. Keep your exchanges with your ex short and polite. Don’t get involved or give endless instructions.
  5. Respect your kids’ time with their other parent.

Are You Considering Divorce?

If you’re thinking about divorce, or if your spouse has already filed, we may be able to help you.

Call us right away at (209) 546-6870 or get in touch with a Stockton divorce attorney online to schedule a consultation today.