When parents are in a positive co-parenting relationship, they’re helping raise their children with a sense of security and love. Co-parenting is a partnership that benefits your child now and well into the future.
Whether you and your child’s other parent are married, dating, separated, or divorced, your child benefits from experiencing and witnessing you and your partner in a positive co-parenting relationship.
As discussed in our section about Fatherhood (hyperlink to Fatherhood page), growing up with an engaged and caring father has been found to lead to many positive outcomes for children. Parenting needs to be a partnership that builds and supports a strong foundation for your child, and it involves both parents supporting each other’s decisions and working as a unit to raise their child. A strong co-parenting relationship reduces a child’s stress and provides her with comfort and security. Co-parenting also helps each parent balance the responsibility of parenthood by having another person to rely on and make decisions. So it reduces your stress, too.
Parents provide their children with the first model of what a relationship is and what it looks like. That’s why it’s so important that you show your child a positive, productive, and respectful relationship, regardless of your relationship status with the other parent. Your child is watching and learning from both of you. Show him the relationship you want him to have in his future.
Here are some tips on how to have a positive co-parenting relationship:
Do not talk negatively about the other parent in front of the child.
Avoid arguments and practice calm, productive discussions in front of your child.
Set routine check-ins for you and your co-parent to talk privately about your child, including any decisions that need to be discussed and made together.
Discuss and agree on parenting strategies (discipline, bedtimes, expectations, etc.) together. And it is important to be consistent.