When considering how many couples divorce each year, it’s not surprising how many parents are learning to co-parent from different households. Building a co-parenting relationship can be difficult for many divorced couples. While learning how to work cooperatively with someone you’ve divorced can be challenging, but most parents overcome this obstacle as they want to do what’s best for their child. Co-parenting is a difficult task for most divorced couples, but it’s especially difficult for newly divorced couples or those who’ve experienced a contentious separation and divorce.
4 Common Issues that Cause Co-Parenting Challenges
Most exes who share children have no idea what to expect from their co-parenting relationship, so they are ill-prepared for what lies ahead. Planning is essential to co-parenting, and many exes find they are better able to meet their obligations with guidelines in place. Unfortunately, even the best plan will buckle under certain conditions. Certain issues can make co-parenting impossible.
Lasting Resentment: Divorce is a legal process, but it’s also an emotional experience. Most couples share feelings of hurt and resentment after the process is complete, and it can be difficult to let go of these feelings. When one parent resents the other, it can create a rift that makes co-parenting impossible. Resentful parents are less likely to compromise, and they can struggle to refrain from disparaging their fellow co-parent. Resentment introduces toxicity into the co-parenting relationship that prevents it from functioning. Being a part of this resentful and toxic relationship can have detrimental effects on your child’s well-being.
Lack of Consistency: Children need consistency, and a co-parenting relationship or parenting plan that lacks consistency leads to instability. Co-parents need to commit to a plan that includes adhering to the court-ordered child custody agreement. If parents share custody of their children, each parent should provide the same level of care for their children. Your children should feel stable and cared for regardless of what home they are living in at the time. If you and your ex didn’t have a schedule when you were married, you will not be able to continue parenting in the same way post-divorce. Parenting in separate households requires organization and planning. Children can fall through the cracks when parents don’t take co-parenting responsibilities seriously.
Competitive Parenting: Parents who try to win their child’s affection and approval by buying gifts or not enforcing standing rules are ruining their co-parenting relationship by introducing inconsistency. Trying to apologize for your divorce by bribing your child may seem acceptable, but it can lead to problems with your co-parenting relationship and your relationship with your child. You won’t be able to maintain the behavior long-term, which will confuse and frustrate your child. It also puts your child’s relationship with their other parent in jeopardy.
Stepparents and New Partners: Your child has two biological parents, and additional parents can be initially confusing – especially for young children. While it’s normal to move on with your life, the addition of stepparents into a child’s life can be met with hostility and resentment. It will take time for your child to become comfortable with these new relationships. When you’re ready to introduce a new partner to your children or remarry, it’s important to work with your co-parent to make the process less stressful for your children. You should also involve your co-parent because they can know you respect their position as your child’s parent.