Written By: Ryan Pell
Common co-parenting problems is a popular topic today, as more and more people say it’s vital for a child’s well-being. Research shows that co-parenting is important for a child’s mental health after marriage dissolution and helps form coping mechanisms.
That being said, co-parenting is also extremely hard to execute, especially if divorce involved many disagreements and court battles. If you and your former partner decided to co-parent, you have to be ready for quite a few serious challenges, the most common of which we’re going to cover in today’s article.
1. Resentment Towards the Former Partner
The divorce process builds up resentment in both exes. It’s natural as it results from a lot of pain. But it takes a toll on your child’s mental health.
That’s why rule number one – you should never badmouth the other parent, regardless of whether your child is present or not. Research shows that badmouthing your ex-partner can backfire in a multitude of ways:
- Parental alienation.
- Parental denigration.
- Parental blame.
So, no matter how much it hurts, you should never make your child a part of the conflict. If you feel you can’t hold the resentment, try going to therapy to develop mechanisms to help you deal with it.
2. No Proper Consistency
Regardless of what you might have heard from others, a child needs both parents in their lives equally. So, you and your ex-partner have to dedicate equal time to your child and develop some kind of a co-parenting schedule.
Also, try not to delegate all the difficult tasks to one partner and only spend leisure time with your kid. A father should be doing homework, learning Spanish, math, and physics with a child as much as a mother does.
Try to agree on the scheduling issues before the divorce happens. You don’t need it to be another point for a dispute. It also makes sense to talk to your child and ask about their needs. Expect them to be sad and opposed to the situation but try to explain why it is necessary.
3. Competition Between Parents
An issue close to resentment is competition between parents. It can happen that your former partner will try to outcompete you by giving more gifts, spending more time, trying to make it right with your child, and win their attention. This is at the top of the list of the most common co-parenting problems.
While it may seem like a natural thing to buy your child gifts, your kid doesn’t need them as a substitute for your attention. What they need is to spend time with you creating memories they will cherish later on in life. Your presence is what will make your child more resilient.
So, instead of fighting for the child’s attention, dedicate some time to creating a schedule where both you and your ex-partner are equally present in your kid’s life.
4. Bringing Step-Partners into Children’s Lives
Step-mothers and step-fathers are a stress to children. Psychologists share that when a step-parent appears in a child’s life, they are likely to feel resentment as they now have a person to blame for their parents’ divorce.
So, if you have decided it’s time to introduce your new partner to your child, talk to your former partner first and ask for their permission. You would expect them to do the same, so be respectful towards each other.
If your former partner agrees, talk about the setting in which your child would feel comfortable meeting your new partner. It should be a place where they feel safe.
Next, talk to your new partner about establishing the boundaries. It’s all about time and patience. Don’t expect your child to be friendly and accepting right away, as it takes time to recover from the parents’ divorce. If they react poorly, try to be understanding, even if it hurts you, and don’t push the new relationship on them.
Over to You
Co-parenting is challenging but necessary for your child’s well-being. So many children could have escaped stress and anxiety if their parents had chosen to stay in a healthy relationship instead of disrespecting and competing against each other.
If you’ve chosen co-parenting, dedicate time and effort to make it work. Don’t expect it to work out miraculously, and be ready that your former partner will disagree on many things. The most common co-parenting problems preserving respect towards your ex-partner. Without support and respect, common co-parenting problems will keep arising and it won’t work.