– A parental arrangement where the parents are not in a marriage, cohabitation, or romantic relationship with one another ; a situation where, following divorce or separation, the child’s parents seek to maintain equal responsibility for a child’s upbringing ; a parenting situation in which two separated or divorced parents take care of their children.
Fifty years ago, it was thought that two people should remain in a marriage even if they are unhappy for the betterment of the kids. However, today, we know that while children do benefit from a mother and father at home, what they truly need is love, consistency, discipline and a relationship with both parents. It isn’t necessary for both parents to live under the same roof to provide these needs.
In fact, studies over the last forty years have continued to show that children can adapt and see no lasting adverse effects on their grades, social adjustment, or mental health. One meta-study titled, “Mothers, Fathers, Families, and Circumstances: Factors Affecting Children’s Adjustment,” published these findings: children do well when they have good relationships with both parents, regardless of marriage or cohabitation; children benefit from emotionally stable parents who’ve recuperated from divorce and can focus on the aspects of parenting; children need loving relationships with both parents without regular conflicts and a decent home life.
Co-parenting, when done correctly, is a fantastic opportunity for parents to live happy lives while their children feel it’s okay to love both parents, feel loved by both parents, and have close to equal access to both parents. Through this type of parenting, children can see that they are not the reason the relationship ended and that they are more important than what ended the relationship.
On top of helping your child understand that your love for them will prevail no matter what the circumstances, co-parenting offers many different benefits:
- Security: Children who have a close bond with both parents are more likely to have higher self-esteem.
- Adjustment: Equal time with each parent creates a lasting impact, such as decreased trust issues.
- Consistency: Co-parenting fosters similar rules and guidelines between households making expectations clear and straightforward.
- Examples: Although it does require a lot of effort and hard work, co-parenting demonstrates a healthy example of how to build and maintain relationships.
- Skills: As children observe their parents communicating and working together, they learn how to cooperate with others and effectively solve problems.
Carin Maxey’s blog posts are not legal advice and are meant for informational purposes only. If you require legal advice, please seek a licensed professional in your jurisdiction.