When two people have a child together, they are linked through their shared love and commitment to doing what’s best for that child. Whether or not they stay together, they are still that child’s parents. Most of the time, it is best for children to have a relationship with both of their parents.
Working together to be the best parents you can be is important. You can work together by:
- Always Putting Your Child First—It will be easier to make decisions if you agree to put your child’s needs before getting your own way.
- Communicating—People have all kinds of ideas about how to best raise a child, so it’s good to talk about things to make sure you’re both on the same page. Talk about the big things like medical decisions, if your child will have a religious upbringing, and how you want to solve problems and the smaller things, like how you want to celebrate birthdays.
If something bothers you about the way your child’s other parent is parenting, ask about what he or she is doing and why. Don’t wait until you’re really angry to talk about it. Write a note, instead of talking, if that seems like a better option. See if you can reach an agreement. (Note: If you think your child’s other parent is hurting or mistreating your child, address it right away and don’t wait.)
- Respecting Each Other—Avoid talking down to them or saying mean things about your child’s mother/father, especially if your child might be able to hear what you’re saying.
- Making Decisions Together—If you do not live together, include their mother/father who does not live with the child in the decisions made about the child’s daily life, like choosing childcare or school.
- Respecting Agreements—If you’ve made an agreement, stick to it, or discuss it before you change plans. Respecting agreements you’ve made is part of being a good partner. If you’ve made an agreement in court or through mediation about parenting time, visits, or living arrangements, continue to work with the court if you want to make changes.
Even if you are no longer together, you can be great parenting partners!