The 10 Commandments of Co-Parenting

Traditionally, to have a child, one must build a home through marriage. However, human life has evolved, and getting married is no longer a necessity. Nowadays, it is possible to raise a child alone or in two different households through co-parenting. Are you interested in this method? To make it successful, you need to know the fundamental rules. They form the basis of proper upbringing for your future child.

1 – Agree on the Rules of Life

Sharing a child is not an easy task. It is a well-considered decision that requires some compromises, especially if the person you are agreeing with is a stranger you have just met. In this case, it is essential to establish the rules of life before the child’s arrival.

This includes custody arrangements, daily practices, principles of education, etc. Rules are crucial so that your child can feel secure and have a sense of direction. That’s why it’s important to choose someone with whom you have good communication and a similar feeling.

2 – Prioritize the Child’s Best Interest

This is the foundation of successful co-parenting. Both parents must prioritize the child’s best interest above all else. You must provide them with an ideal environment for their growth and happiness. While the desire to have a child is a personal feeling, once they are present, you must put yourself aside a little and focus solely on the child.

However, it is not healthy to make your child your main and only focus. This can lead to suffocation. You must learn to strike a balance and prioritize the child when necessary without completely neglecting yourself. Happy parents are also the basis of your child’s happiness.

3 – Avoid Geographic Distance

For the child’s well-being, it is essential that you choose someone who is not thousands of miles away from you. If you have opted for co-parenting, you surely want your child to have both maternal and paternal figures simultaneously. If one of you lives far away, achieving this goal may be difficult despite technological advances.

To avoid a sudden change in your child’s life when they arrive, choose someone with a stable situation in the same city. Moreover, proximity can make your arrangements and responsibilities more manageable.

4 – Do Not Force the Child to Choose Sides

Regardless of your level of understanding, disagreements are not excluded in your relationship with the other parent. However, your discussions and opinions are adult matters. You should not force your child to choose sides when the time comes. Keep them out of your disputes.

As a child, they love both their parents. Forcing them to choose can disrupt their well-being. It is not a good example if you want an affectionate and understanding child. Teach them to be understanding of others despite the problems.

5 – Do Not Denigrate the Other Parent in Front of the Child

This is something to avoid if you want your child to be well-balanced. Nobody is perfect, so your co-parent also has flaws. Some may be tolerable, while others may not. However, despite your intolerance, avoid denigrating the other parent in front of the child.

Firstly, it can lower the child’s esteem for that parent, and secondly, it can erode that parent’s authority in the child’s eyes. Furthermore, since you have chosen co-parenting, you can no longer rely on their help in raising your child.

6 – Respect the Established Arrangements

Organization is crucial for your child to have a stable routine. Long before conceiving the child, you have likely established rules and put some arrangements in place. When the time comes, avoid leaving your partner and child hanging as much as possible. This could involve custody rotations, visitation hours, family outings, or attending school events. If you need to pick up your child at a certain time and day, make sure to arrive on time to avoid disappointing them.

A piece of advice regarding arrangements: Sunday evenings may not be the best day to change residences. Choose another day, as Sunday evenings are associated with the end of the weekend and the beginning of the workweek, which can be traumatic for your child.

7 – Find a Compromise

Life is full of unexpected events, and parenting is not necessarily easy. Therefore, you must be accommodating to give your child the best. It is essential to put compromise at the top of the list of things to accept when deciding to choose co-parenting. It is never easy to accept principles that differ from your own, but when you have children in co-parenting, you must learn to compromise.

However, making compromises does not mean playing the role of the “nice” parent. Co-parenting can even encourage competition between the two parents. So, there is no need to compromise just to play the “nice” parent in front of your child. Sometimes, it is essential to remain firm on certain matters.

8 – Respect Each Other’s Parenting Principles

You and your partner have had different upbringings. Naturally, you will have different principles concerning your child’s upbringing. If you have decided to have a child with someone else, be prepared for them to impose their views on what they believe is best for the child.

As with compromise, you must also respect their parenting principles. This not only maintains each parent’s authority but also prevents the child from getting easily lost.

9 – Listen to Your Child

This phase is necessary as your child grows older. You still have parental authority, but it is also essential to listen to them when they can express themselves. Children may have opinions on certain decisions you are going to make, and you should involve them when possible. This could include choosing vacation destinations, clothing choices, or household rules. As they grow up, your child may have their own ideas about parenting. Even if you do not adopt their ideas, it is important to make them feel heard.

Additionally, this method can also teach them to listen to others. It is learned from the actions you take every day, not from moralizing speeches.

10 – Avoid Displaying Disagreements in Front of the Child

Just like in a home with married parents, co-parenting is not exempt from disagreements and arguments. And just like in traditional parenting, parents should not argue in front of their child. Indeed, your child is not an arbitrator between you and your co-parent. Frequent disputes can even incite violence in the child.

However, if you happen to get upset with the other parent in front of your child, try to explain the reason and, most importantly, reinforce that they are not the cause of the disagreement. You should apologize to calm them. Moreover, if you manage to respect the previous nine commandments, respecting this last one will not be an issue for you.

And if you have not yet found the right person to have a child with, turn to Coparentalys; they might help you find someone with the same principles as you.