Making co-parenting work when it is a challenge

Many different arrangements are possible when two parents have to come up with a parenting plan. One of the possibilities is co-parenting. This relationship means that you and your child's other parent aren't in a relationship any longer but you still work together to raise your child.

Co-parenting is often touted as one of the best methods for raising a child after divorce. However, this doesn't mean that it is the easiest option for the adults involved. It takes a lot of work and compromise on the parts of the parents. This isn't always easy and conflicts are going to come up. Here are some ways that you might be able to make co-parenting work:

Flexibility is key

Being flexible when co-parenting is the key to making it work. While stability and consistency are important for children, most children are more flexible than adults realize. You can teach your child a lot about working through challenging situations if you are willing to compromise with your ex about matters related to the custody arrangement. This might mean that you have be willing to switch up the days when you have the children or work with your ex on pick-up and drop-off times. Just remember that as long as your child is happy, healthy and safe, the small details won't matter much in the long run.

Keep things private

Don't try to work out contentious parenting agreement matters in public or even in front of your child. As a co-parent, you will have to find private ways to work these things out with your ex. A phone call while your child is in bed or an in-person discussion while your child is otherwise occupied might be helpful. Most decisions don't have to be made right away, so take the time to calm down if you need to before you discuss matters with your ex.

Reevaluate the parenting arrangement

If co-parenting isn't working for you and your ex, you might have to explore other arrangements. The new arrangement doesn't have to be permanent, but it will give you time to let the current situation simmer down. One option that you might switch to is parallel parenting, which means that you and your ex-spouse each have your own rules and ways of doing things when your children are with you. There isn't the overlap of consistent rules and other joint decisions. If all else fails, you might have to seek a child custody modification to more clearly define the roles of each parent and the schedule for parenting time.

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