5 Ways to Co-Parent Effectively

~Shemeka Michelle



After divorcing almost three years ago, my co-parent and I are doing a great job if I must say so myself. While we don’t ALWAYS see eye to eye, it’s clear that we both love our children and want the best for them. Sometimes people marvel at our relationship; often asking if we’re getting back together. I say part of the reason we get along so well is because we are no longer fighting in court. However, these 5 tips are also the reason we co-parent successfully.


  1. Get over each other!

This seems like a no brainer. However, just because couples split, it doesn’t mean they are completely over one another. Many times constant bickering is due to unresolved emotional baggage. When one or both parents are holding feelings of resentment or unforgiveness, it can have a tremendous effect on the person’s ability to let go and move on. If you find yourself constantly getting angry with your co-parent or using your child as a pawn against them, ask yourself “Am I really over him/her?”


  1. Remember the child/children are the top priority.

Many times after couples split, they get caught up in winning or trying to prove a point to the other person. Quite often it’s for the reasons discussed in #1. They forget they share the main focal point….the child! Your main concern as a parent should be to stabilize the child by any means necessary. This involves you setting aside bruised egos and foolish pride. Whether you know it or not, children can sense when mom and dad are at odds. Many times it causes a sense of unrest within the child as they feel pressure to choose a side. This should never be a child’s concern. The child’s well being should always outweigh any asinine pettiness.


  1. Have a genuine concern for the well being of your co-parent.

Although your relationship failed, like it or not, this person holds a special place in your child’s heart. You should have a sincere desire to see your co-parent succeed because it’s in your child’s best interest. In order for a person to be the best parent they can be, they first need to be their best self.


  1. Support them in their parenting.

None of us were given a parenting manual when our child was born and let’s be real…sometimes it’s not easy.  When you notice or sense that your co-parent is feeling inadequate, encourage them. If you notice areas that need improvement for the sake of the child, be willing to discuss those things rationally. In addition to talking, be willing to listen!


  1. Choose wisely!

This actually should’ve been number one. Effective parenting starts well before conception with choosing the right partner in the first place. My ex-husband often says he purposely waited to have children until he knew they would have a good mom. More often than not, people are lying down with partners they don’t even like. Much less a person who is a good fit as a parent. If you can’t even make wise decisions about whom you are willing to have sex with, you definitely aren’t ready to be a responsible parent.


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