It is important to learn how to effectively co-parent because it will prevent children from being “Caught In The Middle” when parents get divorced. Research suggests both difficult and promising news: Children from families of divorce may suffer painful consequences, and yet children who are surrounded by support and given the skills and information needed to cope with the situation suffer fewer painful consequences.

While it is important to learn how to effectively co-parent can be done but it does take effort.  Co-parenting is a phrase used to describe divorced or separated parents who are sensitive to their child’s distress and who learn techniques that avoid putting children in the middle. Lets face it, many couples find it extremely difficult to divorce amicably. Typically there’s potential for a great deal of anger, resentment, disappointment and pain. Parents may use children as weapons by controlling the other parent’s access to the children or financial support. They may use children as “spies” or trash each other in front of them. All of this puts children at risk and may add to the burden which children of divorce already face. Some of the typical sources of conflict are:

  • Money
  • Religious/values education
  • Holidays
  • Discipline
  • Medical issues
  • Education and/or career plans
  • Recreation (sports, hobbies)
  • Parenting styles

When a family is reorganized because of separation or divorce, the parenting responsibilities also need to be reorganized. Remind yourself about why it’s important to to learn how to effectively co-parent for your child/ren because:

  • Children benefit from having a positive and supportive relationship with both parents.
  • Cooperative parenting reduces the levels of stress that echo throughout the entire family. The absence of communication between parents or the presence of conflicting communication hurts the child if he or she is placed in the middle.

One of the most difficult issues for parents who share responsibilities for children is the issue of visitation. The following guidelines are meant to give you several ideas to make it easier to learn how to effectively co-parent.  Each family must find what works best for them while avoiding too much pressure being put on the children.

General Guidelines

The guidelines that follow are examples of constructive parenting goals that promote the wellbeing of the children by helping them grow into healthy, happy, whole people and to help the parents to  learn how to effectively co-parent.

  • Both parents should encourage visitation to help their children grow and develop in a positive way.
  • Children need to know that it is OK to love both parents.
  • In general, parents should try to act respectfully toward each other, at least for the sake of the children.
  • Each parent should show respect for the other’s views concerning how to raise the children by trying, where possible, to be consistent. For example, if one parent is strongly opposed to having toy guns for small children, the other should take this view into account when buying toys.
  • Each parent is entitled to know the whereabouts of the children during visitations, as well as whom the children are with (such as a babysitter or friend), if they are not with the other parent.
  • The parents should discuss and try to agree on the religious education of the children, as well as on who is responsible for seeing that the children attend religious instruction.
  • It is vitally important that each parent let the other know his/her current address and home and work phone numbers.

It is important to learn how to effectively co-parent because it will prevent children from being “Caught In The Middle” when parents get divorced.