It is common to see divorced celebrity couples highlighting and glorifying their co-parenting arrangements. They often only focus on the positive aspects of co-parenting in public, making it look easy.
Divorced or unmarried couples in North Carolina know that co-parenting is certainly a challenge. However, it is easy to see these examples in the media and feel disheartened – even if these examples perpetuate myths about co-parenting. So, here are some of the most common myths dispelled.
1. Co-parents should agree on everything
This is not true. You and your ex-spouse likely disagreed about how to parent while you were married. Simply because you decide to co-parent does not mean this challenge disappears. What it does mean, is you and your ex-spouse are committed to:
- Working together to put the kids first and support their best interests
- Jointly sharing the duties of raising their child
- Promoting consistency in the child’s life
It does help for co-parents to agree on some things – particularly the fundamentals of their child’s life. However, when you disagree, that is also why the parenting agreement should directly address how you will approach and resolve disputes.
2. Co-parenting means constant collaboration
It is true that co-parenting often requires:
- Collaboration, especially when it comes to parenting schedules and upholding rules
- Effective communication, so parents are on the same page
- Teamwork, to some level
However, that does not mean maintaining direct and constant interactions between you and your ex-spouse. Some parents choose to communicate via text messages instead of face-to-face. Others might schedule business-like meetings to discuss their concerns about their child’s life. In some cases, co-parenting might look much more like parallel parenting.
It is important to note that co-parenting will look different for every family. The level of collaboration does not determine the success of the arrangement.
3. The co-parenting arrangement is only between co-parents
This is not necessarily true.
As children get older and become more independent, the arrangement might have to change slightly to accommodate their needs and wishes. Additionally, if one or both spouses marry again, the new spouse – or stepparent – will have to be apprised and involved in the co-parenting arrangement too. You might need to involve some other family members, such as grandparents, as well.
Co-parenting can indeed be daunting. Seeing the portrayals of ease in the media might not help, but that does not mean you are failing.