Co-parenting is often one of the greatest challenges that parents face after a divorce. Moving forward as co-parents requires careful planning and commitment. However, effective co-parenting needs more than a plan. It also requires the right attitude from both parents.
So, how can North Carolina parents get in the right mindset to co-parent successfully?
The mentality of co-parenting is important
According to a 2014 study, there are three aspects that parents should carefully consider as they move forward in their co-parenting journey. These include:
- The emotional element: Parents should evaluate the emotional responses they have to their ex-spouse. The emotions surrounding any interactions with an ex-spouse can be unpredictable, quick and complex. It is easy to feel angry or guilty when speaking with an ex-spouse. However, taking the time to work through emotions, assess one’s reactions to their ex-spouse and handle these responses in a healthy way can help avoid the risk of conflict.
- The behavioral element: Both parents should also ensure they make conscious decisions to behave civilly to each other – especially when around their children. They can use strategies to help improve the behavioral element, such as engaging in low-conflict communication styles through email or text messages and limiting face-to-face conversations. Managing behavior is a critical step to co-parent productively.
- The cognitive element: There are essentially two factors within this element. First, parents should shift their thoughts and perspective about their ex-spouse to see them as a co-parent and ally instead of an adversary. This will take time, but it is helpful when establishing and strengthening the co-parenting relationship. Second, both parents should also shift their focus to their children. This helps them to put their children first and find a common goal in their co-parenting.
Reflecting on these three elements consistently can help parents cultivate their co-parenting relationship.
Mindset is critical, but you must implement action too
Of course, co-parenting is more than these three elements and one’s attitude. Taking care to achieve this mindset can help parents immensely and change how they approach co-parenting. However, parents must also ensure they effectively implement their parenting plan while maintaining this mindset. This mindset should inform their actions and interactions with their co-parent.
Co-parenting is a careful balance of attitude and action. Parents must make sure they strike that balance and put their family’s future first after the divorce.