Most of us understand or have likely heard, that being in a successful co-parenting relationship means putting aside differences with your ex to focus on what’s best for your children. In an ideal situation, you and your co-parent get along and work together for your children’s benefit. But, since a perfect world doesn’t exist, complications will undoubtedly arise that test this new relationship.
Especially at the beginning of a co-parenting partnership, you should permit yourself to feel frustrated or confused about your new reality. Some experts say it may take a couple of years to find a happy medium for raising kids together while living apart. We’ve talked many times about healthy arrangements, but here are unrealistic expectations that can lead to unhealthy situations.
It won’t be easy
Like everything else that’s new, co-parenting has its ups and downs. The adjustment period might be shorter if you and your former spouse are on good terms. But even when conflict is minimal, unexpected turns and disagreements will almost certainly arise, requiring patience and understanding.
It’s not about romance
One of the most difficult adjustments for new co-parents is understanding that the focus is no longer on their personal desires for romance and a sexual relationship. This change in dynamics is crucial, so both of you prioritize your children’s needs. Providing love, support and safety must be your mission going forward.
It’s not about one parent getting their way
Micromanagers tend to have a difficult time forging a good co-parenting relationship. The need to control their children’s lives or their ex-spouse’s actions can make it extremely difficult to put their kids’ needs first. Seeking counseling to help with these urges may help them develop skills for consulting with their co-parents, sharing resources and providing constructive feedback. Those who can’t adjust may want to consider a parallel parenting relationship.
It will never become routine
Everything changes, and co-parenting is no exception. Your children are growing and developing new interests and activities. Your parenting plan will have to adapt to allow for these changes. You and your ex may have new romantic relationships or make career changes. Both of you must be willing to accept change while keeping the focus solely on your children’s best interests.