How to Find Co-Parenting Success After Remarrying
Co-parenting has grown in popularity over the years.
Many divorcing couples understand that children are a shared responsibility, and no parent should do it alone. Before co-parenting, sole custody was the only arrangement in town. Mothers typically won the custody battle and were responsible for the kids. A father’s only role would be to pay child support and nothing else.
As you can see, this arrangement won’t work today. Many moms have full-time employment and careers they can’t throw away. Raising kids, maintaining the household, and thinking about what’s for supper is a daunting enough task already. Having a full-time job while being a mother would be exhausting. Fathers also need time with the children too.
What is it?
With co-parenting, both parents share an equal role in taking care of the children, even though they live in separate houses. It is a “parenting situation” where both adults share the parenting duties in raising a child. While some divorcing couples are turning to co-parenting because of its benefits, many do it out of necessity.
The Need for Co-Parenting.
Numbers don’t lie.
Children who spend 35% of their time with each parent have better relationships with both. Kids of divorce also do better in academics and social settings. Most of them show little to no adverse psychological effects of going through a divorce. The reality is, shared parenting duties should be the goal of all divorced parents.
If mom and dad are committed to their child’s welfare, co-parenting is the solution. Co-parenting may be ideal in most circumstances, but it is not always successful, especially after remarrying. If the biological parents can’t provide a healthy co-parenting atmosphere for the child, a new spouse might make things worse.
Successful Co-parenting After Remarriage
If co-parents and new parents can’t stand each other, it’s the child who suffers the consequences. Here are the keys to successful co-parenting.
The “co” in co-parenting means two things: cooperation and commitment.
For this arrangement to be successful, couples need to understand that they cannot be co-parents if there’s no cooperation. Co-parenting requires the commitment from both parents that they’ll behave like adults. Past anger and other personal disputes from their marriage shouldn’t interfere with their duties.
Shared parenting responsibilities won’t work if couples have a destructive and adversarial relationship.
Adversarial resentment often stems from a messy divorce case. Every single detail goes into public divorce records as long as it’s filed in court, and anyone can gain access to the files. For divorcing couples who are serious about shared parenting duties, mediation is often advised. Mediation helps keep the stressful divorce details private.
Be mindful of what a child experiences when one or both parents remarry.
Children feel a sense of loss when they realize that they will never have their original family back together again. Jealousy and resentment towards the new stepparent and stepsiblings may also occur. There will be an adjustment period on all the new rules and relationships. Younger kids adapt to new relationships faster than older ones.
Children may have confused feelings and feel insecure about their new reality. Comparisons between the “replaced” parent and the new one will more than likely happen. There may also be loyalty issues wherein a child favors one parent over the other.
There should be healthy boundaries set for the stepparent.
It can be difficult for a new spouse to not have a say in the major decisions when it comes to raising a child. However, biological parents must protect their co-parenting relationship with each other. Balance is necessary, so all the critical decisions must stay with the biological parents. New parents can play a role in the daily life of the child.
There should be mutual respect all-around.
Respect is non-negotiable, no matter what ex-couples and new spouses feel towards one another. Co-parents and new spouses shouldn’t bad-mouth each other, especially in front of the children.
The new stepparent should have a name.
It may be asking too much if a parent asks a child to call a stepparent mom or dad. This situation adds more confusion. It’s also awkward and inappropriate because the other half of the co-parenting equation may feel hurt or angry. In most cases, the stepparent’s first name is the safest thing to use.
This article was contributed by:
Emily Andrews is the marketing communications specialist at RecordsFinder, an online public records search company. Communications specialist by day and community volunteer at night, she believes in compassion and defending the defenseless.