What Is Co-Parenting?
While couples may choose to part ways, their relationship as parents never ends. Healthy co-parenting is divorcing or separating in such a way that you try to avoid the animosity or hurt feelings and be present for your kids. Co-parenting is about rising above those feelings and working with your ex to both be there for your kids.

It’s a very small minority of divorced parents that can truly do collaborative co-parenting, where they work together and get along completely for the sake of the children. More parents should aim for low-conflict co-parenting instead. You need to manage the conflict, at least when it comes to sharing the parenting duties with your ex.

15 Tips to Make Co-Parenting Work

Communicate with your ex Respectfully
Be respectful to your ex. Talk in a civil tone, without sarcasm conveyed by your tone, words or body language. Remember, they also want what is best for your children and you want your ex to talk and act respectfully with you, too.

Talk Directly to Your ex Respectfully
Go right to the source instead of talking to your ex “through” your kids. Communicate directly with each other. If you can’t have a civil conversation, try email or a service, such as

Respect Your Ex’s Time With the Kids
Be respectful of the other parent’s time with the children. Don’t intrude on the children’s time with their other parent by calling or texting too frequently. Avoid scheduling special children’s activities on the other parent’s time without first clearing it with your ex.

Make and Follow a Plan
Create and rely on a clear parenting plan that spells out in detail how various issues will be handled. The more detailed, the less you have to fight about….
• phone calls
• exchange of clothing
• when a child is sick
• homework to do or done
• drop off and pick up…. And who can do it if you are not available?

Take the Blame or at least do not openly criticize your ex
It’s easy to blame your ex, but “peace” suggests you don’t. When people blame the divorce on the ex-partner, hurt feelings will come out. You don’t want the kids to feel the animosity about your ex when they are with you. 

Stop the Leaks
Parents need to watch what they say when their kids are around. No blaming the other parent for things — for example, “We can’t buy you those new hockey skates because dad didn’t give us enough money.” Do not “badmouth” your ex. 

Keep Conflict at Bay
When there is any kind tension or conflict in the home, kids sleep poorly. And sleep affects every aspect of a child’s life. Keep conflict to a minimum in both homes and let your kids sleep easy.

Be Consistent
Both parents need to make sure that the kids’ schedules are pretty much the same at both houses. Sometimes things like sleep and bedtimes get a little loose, but when sleep is compromised, kids can get into trouble in all areas of their lives.

Team Sports activities…
Before signing up your child to play on a sports team, coordinate with your ex. Not only will there be shared expenses, but kids must be transported to practices and games during the weeks with each parent. Please cooperate when the activity is one your child really wants to participate in.

School: Homework, meetings, etc.
Be sure to help your child complete all school assignments on time. Make sure all information sent home from the school gets communicated to the other parent.

You CAN Have It Both Ways!
You do not have to have the same rules for the kids in both houses, but explain that the rules are different at Daddy and Mommy’s houses. (At Daddy’s house you can drink coke and at Mommy’s house you cannot.)

Agree on the Big Things
You need to agree on the big issues. If you find you and your ex-partner cannot agree on an important decision, such as a school choice, consult with an expert who can offer objective advice about what is best for your child.

Don’t Complain About Your Ex
Avoid the temptation to say negative things about your ex to your child or to use children as messengers or sounding boards for your complaints about your ex.

Talk Directly to Your Ex
Go right to the source instead of talking to your ex “through” your kids. Communicate directly with each other. If you can’t have a civil conversation, try email or a service, such as

Your kids will thank you for it.