How to Make Co-Parenting Work When You Both Have New Partners

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Co-parenting is difficult at the best of times, and adding two other people into the mix can make it even harder unless you have the right toolset to overcome it. So, how can you get it right?

When you have a child with someone you’re in a relationship with, the last thing you expect is to separate from them and have to parent the child individually. When two people have parental responsibility in separate homes, things can get tricky. If you disagree with one of your partner’s decisions, a prohibited steps order may be the way forward.

That said, it’s much easier to have plans in place to avoid this altogether. One way to make the raising of your child more civil and co-operative is to develop a co-parenting plan to work out how the child will be raised amicably.

In this post, we’re going to help you work out your differences with your partner, and develop a co-parenting relationship that works for both parents and your new partners. We’ll then tell you how these steps can benefit your children, so read on for more…

What is Co-Parenting?

For those of you who haven’t looked into co-parenting yet, we’re going to briefly go over what it is and how it works.

Co-parenting is a post-divorce parenting agreement where both parents participate equally in the raising of their child. The parents need to interact with each other and come up with rules on their child’s upbringing and activities. 

When divorcing couples choose to be co-parents, they have to develop a co-parenting plan as part of the divorce process. This is designed to make sure both parents are on the same page when it comes to how their child should be raised. 

Part of the co-parenting rules set out in the plan should be issues such as healthcare, extra-curricular transportation, and other matters that affect the child’s welfare. In the case of many parents, this is the best way to ensure that your children’s needs are met, and they maintain a close relationship with both of you.

It might seem difficult to speak to a person you’d rather forget about, plan all these rules with them, and speak to each other at drop offs. But, it’s not impossible. If you follow the steps in the following section, it should make the process a lot easier. 

How Do You Make Co-Parenting Work When You’re Both in Relationships?

Now that we know what co-parenting is and have an idea of how it’s supposed to work, it’s time to give you some advice on how to do it successfully. These tips are geared towards co-parents who have new partners, so if you’re in this boat, take a look…

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1. Set hurt and anger aside

In order to co-parent successfully with your ex and your new partners, you need to put any emotion, anger, resentment or pain behind you so you can focus on the needs of your child. This is the hardest thing to overcome when co-parenting, but it’s also the most important.

One way to deal with this is to get your feelings out elsewhere. Talk to your friends, family, a professional therapist, or anyone willing to listen to your feelings. Never take your emotions out on your ex and their new partner, or your co-parenting days will be over. 

If you’re ever speaking to your ex and can feel the emotion bubbling up inside you, just think about your child and the life you want for them. Animosity between the two of you will negatively impact them, which is the exact opposite of why you co-parent in the first place. 

2. Address parenting matters as a group

When you introduce a new partner into the co-parenting mix, they will undoubtedly have an impact on the way the child is raised. 

Obviously, they are not the biological parents of your child, so both parties might not want them to have too much influence over the child’s upbringing. What you can do, however, is include them in your plans for the child and make sure they understand them.

Your rules for your child don’t have to be set in stone. If one of your new partners has some constructive commentary or helpful insights into how the child is being raised, it can actually benefit everyone in the long run. It might even make the non-biological partners feel more included. 

Making sure you get together as a group, so any changes are agreed upon and understood by all parties, is the best way to avoid anyone feel like they’ve been left out of the co-parenting loop. 

3. New partners are a good thing

When you’re already trying your best to co-parent with your ex, a new partner entering the scene might be the last thing you want. Not only does it complicate matters, you might feel like you have to vie for your child’s love with a new party. 

Despite this initial gut reaction, you can view new partners in a positive light. For example:

  • There’s one more person in your child’s life who wants the best for them.
  • There’s one more person to help you carry out your co-parenting goals.
  • There’s one more person to pick your child up after school, or take them to football practice, when both parents are too busy to do it.

When you think about it, there may be loads of other positives you can come up with. So, try to focus on those when you feel jealous or annoyed about your ex’s new partner. 

4. Be civil with each other

This should go without saying but, in the co-parenting world, it’s easy to be okay with your ex’s new partner, but not like it. You might be terse with them and not want to interact with them nicely because you secretly resent them for being there.

There’s also the chance that you are completely fine with your ex having a new partner, but you don’t personally like or get on with them because you have clashing personalities. Whatever the case, you need to be nice to each other.

You also need to be nice about them around your child. If you ever badmouth your ex or their new partner in front of the children, they will get confused and feel like they have to pick sides. Basically, this behaviour will defeat the purpose of the co-parenting relationship.

How Does Successful Co-Parenting Benefit Your Children?

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If, after reading all the effort you have to put in to co-parent, you’ve started to think it’s not right for you, read the following benefits of co-parenting for your children before you make your decision. 

Throughout the co-parenting process, your children should be able to recognise that they are more important to the both of you than the issues that ended your marriage. They need to understand that your love for them is strong and will prevail no matter what.

When children have parents who are in a co-parenting relationship, they: 

  • Feel secure: with parents who clearly want to work together and do what’s best for their child, the child adjusts more quickly to divorce and new living situations.
  • Benefit from consistency: co-parenting rules mean that discipline and rewards between households are consistent, so children know what to expect, and what’s expected of them.
  • Understand problem solving better: seeing their parents work together every day teaches them the benefit of, and the skills to, peacefully resolve problems. 
  • Learn what good relationships are: co-operation between you and your partner shows the child how to have good relationships with people.
  • Have better mental and emotional health: conflict between you and your partner could cause issues such as depression, anxiety or ADHD. With co-parenting this is much less likely.

So, is Co-parenting the Right Choice for You?

In this post, we’ve managed to cover what co-parenting is, and shared some tips on how to carry it out effectively with new partners on the scene. We’ve also shed a light on some benefits of co-parenting your children. 

If you’re not convinced that this avenue is right for you and your ex after reading this post, you can at least take away some of the positive aspects. For example, you could try to get on with your ex-partner as best as possible and leaving all your negative emotions behind.

For those of you who do want to try co-parenting, broach the subject with your ex and explain all the benefits to them. If you’re like minded enough, and the animosity between you isn’t so bad, hopefully you’ll be co-parenting before you know it.

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