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The 4 C’s of successful co-parenting

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2024 | Family Law And Divorce |

Co-parenting after a separation or divorce can be challenging, but it is essential for the well-being of your children. Successful co-parenting requires effort, patience and effective communication.

Even though it may sound like a lot of work, studies consistently show that co-parenting is highly beneficial for children in every area of their lives. They are happier, healthier and do better in school.

Children first

The first and most important recommendation for parents is to put their children first. When the parents focus on the children and regularly remind themselves that they are doing this for them, it is easier to cope with the difficulties that may naturally pop up between the parents.


Communicating well sounds like a simple task but we all know how difficult it can be to communicate, especially with someone you were once in a relationship with but later divorced. However, there are tools you can use to communicate better. For example:

  • Use active listening. When the other parent tells you how they feel, paraphrase what they say to you and ask them if that is what they mean. Often times, parents want to feel heard.
  • Make a promise to communicate respectfully at all times and to stay away from blaming and critiquing each other. Remember that both of you want your children to be happy.
  • Create a co-parenting plan and stick to it for the most part, with some flexibility. It is good to have a stable routine while at the same time acknowledging the reality that life happens.
  • If either parent is upset with the other, try calming down before communicating, and if emotions run too high, try emailing each other about the problem.
  • Do not be afraid to seek help from a mediator, family counselor or attorney if you hit a roadblock and need help finding a solution. Sometimes the help of a third party can be the answer to a problem.


Children thrive when they have a routine and when they know what is going to happen. Try being as consistent as possible with your child and the other parent and do not make promises you cannot keep. If you say you will do something, do it. This will support building trust and show you are reliable.

Conflict away from the child

If there is conflict between you and the other parent, make sure you keep it away from the child. Do not speak negatively about the other parent to your child because that can hurt the relationship between them and the child.

The divorce is between the spouses, not the children. Co-parenting is an acknowledgement that children need both parents and science shows that it is highly effective in supporting children’s development and growth.

If you and your spouse choose co-parenting after separation or divorce, be mindful of the choices you make, establish rules and boundaries, and remember to always be respectful to the other parent, as you would be toward your child.