Parenting can be tricky when you're doing so alongside an individual with different ideas on how to raise children. Regardless of differences, it's always important to respect one another and be open-minded; however, you must do your best not to compromise your morals and values. Co-parenting can be difficult, but it can also be beautiful in the way that it challenges you to see different perspectives when it comes to raising humans. Whether you're in a healthy partnership or are co-parenting with the child's other biological parent, there are some things to always remember when you are parenting with another adult. Here are 10 things to remember while co-parenting a child.
10 BE PATIENT
Patience is a virtue, especially when you are not parenting alone. It can be difficult to agree with every decision, but you must remember to pick your battles. Not only will deciding what to be patient and understanding with will benefit your child's energy, it will also benefit yours. Regardless of your relationship with your co-parent partner, being patient is a great quality to have while raising your child and/or children. You're not doing this alone, so not everything will be agreed upon. Practice patience and the overall experience should go more smoothly than if you weren't.
9 YOU CANNOT CHANGE ANYONE
Accepting this fact is crucial when you are co-parenting. Not only do you have no control over changing your child and/or children, but you can not change the individual you are co-parenting with. Yes, it is possible to influence their morals and values by exploring options and showing them sides that they may not have discovered previously, but you can not change an individual. Whether it's their personality traits, their jobs or their values in life, if you realize that you're unable to change the people closest in your life, you will be able to go with the parting flow much easier.
8 GIVE UP ON CONTROL
Having the sense of losing control is the main source of all anxiety. Yes, it's horrifying; and when you lose control of a situation, that you can not by any means control, it can affect your relationships.
If you accept the fact that you can not control anyone other than yourself (within reason), co-parenting with another individual will be much more peaceful. It's a difficult lesson to learn and accept, but it's crucial while raising a child and/or children with another person.
7 BE OPEN-MINDED
As stated before, it's important to remember that not everyone will want to do what you want to do. Just as with the individual parenting your child too, you must keep open-minded as they were possibly raised differently than you. They may want to practice parenting techniques different than yours. It's ok to try techniques and practices that were different than the ones used on you as a child, if you feel they're safe. It's very important for both parents to keep an open mind when collectively parenting a child and/or children.
6 SEE THROUGH THE CHILD'S EYES
When making a parenting decision, you must always consider how it will affect the child in the moment and in the long run. If you don't, you may be making parenting choices for the wrong reasons. Whether it's to satisfy your own ego or pleasing the other partner, it's important to always consider the outcome for your child's sake.
Always remember who will be affected the most by your parenting decisions. Life's no longer just about your own needs. It's important to see through your child's eyes when independently and collectively parenting.
5 UNDERSTAND THE OTHER PARENT'S VIEWPOINTS
Consider how your decisions may affect your partner, too. Wouldn't you want the same done when you make a parenting decision? If you practice understanding the other parent's viewpoints, you will gradually become more open-minded when it comes to their decisions and you will be able to understand more fully why they want to do what they want to do. Understand the other parent's viewpoints will benefit your relationship together which will, in turn, provide a safer growing experience for the child and/or children.
4 ASK FOR ADVICE
While co-parenting, it's typical to find new things out about each other on the daily. It's ok to not know the answer, whether you ask for their input or not. If you need a third party to give advice (if you're a couple) then ask.
It's ok to ask questions when you do not know the answer. Though every family dynamic is different, there are some situations that may be similar to others. So, if you need help, it's absolutely ok to ask for advice. There is no shame in that.
3 TRY THINGS YOU WOULDN'T USUALLY
While co-parenting, it will be common to do something that may be out of your comfort zone. But, it is also important to try new things that are suggested by the other individual. This could be going on a vacation you were hesitant about though your partner ensures he/she/they will help with the children. This could also look like a vacation outside of the country, though you're a separated couple. It's ok to try new things: whether this looks like saying "yes" or saying "no" to an experience you usually would not do otherwise.
2 IT'S OK TO SAY NO
It is absolutely ok to say no. Co-parenting will trigger emotions that you may not have expected. It may also put you in difficult situations, where you do not want to compromise your values and morals to make someone else happy. Despite the situation, it's important not to fight in front of the child and/or children. You will disagree while parenting. This is normal and healthy. So, always remember where you stand and be comfortable with saying "no" once in a while.
1 ACCEPT DIFFERENCES
If you and your partner (whether romantic or friendly) were the exact same person who had the exact same view-points and didn't feel different on any parenting decision, you would not experience healthy parenthood. And, your child and/or children would not learn a lot from that type of relationship. It's important to be different than one another for the growth of yourself and your child and/or children you are raising together. Accept one another as you come, because as we've learned above: it's impossible to change anyone.