Common Co-Parenting Issues: How To Fix Them

Co-parenting has been a typical arrangement for separated couples who have children. Many aspects of parenting are the same after a separation, but co-parenting compromises have been the ideal solution for many separated couples.

In the past, parents fought and spent a lot of time and money to gain custody of their children. In Canada, there were over 907,000 civil court cases in 2019/2020, and 6.98 percent of which were custody cases. Most of the time, mothers get custody of children.

With the recent changes to Ontario’s Children Law Reform Act, separated parents have equal decision-making responsibilities for their children. Both parents must know the mother’s and father’s rights in Ontario to avoid disputes.

With co-parenting, however, parents don’t have to go to court to fight for child custody. They can work together to raise their children even though they no longer live in the same house.

In a co-parenting arrangement, parents still have communication with each other. They share equal time with the child, and equal rights in decision-making, although the child is living with the other parent.

However, during this process, parents may face several issues. They may have some misunderstandings, which can affect the children.

Here are some common co-parenting issues you might face and tips on how to solve them.


1. Disagreement Between Parents

When it comes to parenting, there are times when you and your ex-partner have some misunderstandings. This may lead to a lack of cooperation from one or both sides.

Cooperation is essential in co-parenting. If you and your ex are not working together (as a unit), this arrangement won’t work. It may result in a complete breakdown of your relationship, leading to more toxic disagreements and a lack of cooperation. As a result, your children may manifest more externalizing problems like delinquency, behavioral disorders, substance abuse, and depression.

It’s crucial that you and your ex compromise to meet the needs and wants of each other. Arrange a cooperative agreement with a mediator, if necessary.

Also, you have to avoid making decisions hastily without discussing your concerns with the other parent and weighing in on what is best for your children. Ensure to consider the interests and well-being of your children all the time.


2. Poor Communication

Inconsistent or lack of communication is another common issue in co-parenting. You and your ex may agree to communicate through chat or email, but what if they do not regularly respond to your messages?

Unexpected scenarios are not impossible, but parents must communicate with each other and work together for the common interests of their children. It may not be necessary to communicate daily, but it would be best to set a schedule for when to message each other.

When there is consistent communication, you and your ex-partner can compromise and mutually agree. It reduces conflicts and ensures you both meet your children’s needs.

When communicating with your ex-partner, set a business-like tone. Speak or write to them with respect, cordiality, and neutrality. Be calm, relax and talk slowly. Listen to your ex-partner and allow them to voice their opinion.


3. Inconsistency

As children grow and develop, they need to have stability. Your relationship with your ex-partner and the environment where the children grow up significantly influence them.

Children need both parents in their lives equally. So, you must ensure that you and your ex-partner have equal time with your children and develop a co-parenting schedule.

Don’t delegate all the difficult tasks to one partner only. Parents must have a fair share of duties and leisure time with children.

Try to have an agreement on scheduling issues before the divorce or separation. Talk to your children and ask about their needs and their opinions. They may be sad because of the situation, but try to explain why it is essential.

Also, it is crucial to establish rules and guidelines in disciplining your children. These include curfews, off-limit activities, and homework issues, and they should be followed in both households.


4. Child Negligence

If your ex-partner decides not to fulfill their responsibilities as a parent to your children, you cannot pressure them to interact with the other parent. You may find your ex-partner struggling to accept or adapt to your children’s growth and losing control.

If they decide not to be a part of their children’s lives anymore or only want limited contact, honor their wishes. However, you should welcome them back into your children’s lives if they change their mind later. Otherwise, you would make it difficult for your children to have a good relationship with their other parent.

Meet with your co-parent to discuss what they would like their role to be as a parent. And they must let you know when they decide to be part of your children’s lives again.


5. Emotional Instability

Having resentment toward each other and arguing in front of children can adversely affect them. It takes a toll on their mental health.

Unpleasant experiences like seeing their parents be emotionally unstable or bickering all the time aren’t good for them. This will create psychological scars that may last forever.

Create a positive environment for your children to let them flourish emotionally. And when there’s a problem between you and your ex-partner, handle it positively.


Co-Parenting Issues You Need To Know

Parenting can be challenging, but it can be more daunting as separated parents. Co-parenting is an excellent arrangement for divorced or separated couples who want to raise their children together. However, during the process, you may experience issues that could affect your children and your relationship with them. It’s crucial to have a parental agreement, consistent communication, stability, and commitment for a successful co-parenting arrangement.