Co-parenting is defined as 'sharing the duties of bringing up a child' and it's a term many parents now use following their separation or divorce, as they continue to raise a family together.
The word has been in the news a lot recently, with reality TV star Kim Kardashian announcing she has filed for divorce from Kanye West; the stars are reportedly choosing to share custody of their four children.
While the arrangement may appear straightforward if former partners remain on good terms, sharing parenting of children with an ex can present many challenging issues to work through - from anxieties to disagreements, loneliness and a lack of support.
Here, Katy Daly, co-founder of the co-parenting app, Amicable, shares her advice for parents following separation or divorce…
Co-parenting can present many challenges
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5 co-parenting tips for former partners
Compromise is key
Katy advises: "It’s important to understand that your relationship with your former partner has now changed. For the relationship to be as harmonious as possible, the way you communicate with each other must evolve.
"Pick and choose your battles and avoid making demands of the other parent regarding their parenting style. Instead, calmly communicate your preferences, offer constructive resolutions, and be prepared to look the other way when necessary."
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Communication with your children and former partner is key
Talk to your children
"Communicating in an age-appropriate way with your kids is vital. Children may have ideas or suggestions that will help you and your ex-partner come to an agreeable, co-parenting arrangement.
"It’s also important to empathise with your children who are now having to split their time between two separate households. This could be even more stressful during the pandemic, so you must show them that you are listening and that you care."
Enjoy your own company
"You will notice you have a lot more alone time now that your children are splitting their days between you and your ex-partner. It’s important to stay positive, as your children might start to feel guilty about not spending all their time with you.
"Try to focus on the positives of having alone time, such as getting a couple of days to yourself and do things that make you happy."
Remember to ask friends and family for support
Bank on your friends and family for their support
"There may be a temptation to deal with this big life adjustment alone for fear of being a burden, but remember, it’s ok to ask for help. Friends and family can act as a sounding board or provide you with some much-needed company.
"Alternatively, you may find it helpful to connect with like-minded single parents. Try the app Frolo, an online community for single parents."
Tech is here to help
"Technology is your best friend when it comes to co-parenting. Messaging apps and shared calendars can help to make co-parenting life a little easier.
Amicable’s app includes a chat function, a shared calendar and gives parents access to an online coach, who can help parents talk through difficult conversations. In tandem with open communication, technology allows both parents to seamlessly navigate the world of co-parenting."
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