Roughly 23% of children in the country live in a home with just one of their parents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This is a percentage that continues to increase, despite how damaging it can be to the child if healthy co-parenting doesn’t take place. While some parents feel they can’t stay together, it is imperative that they make healthy co-parenting a priority, to help minimize the stress and negative outcomes when parents fall short of healthy co-parenting. The good news is that there are ways to engage in healthy co-parenting.
“All of the research and statistics overwhelmingly demonstrate that children need both parents fully engaged in their upbringing and lives,” explains Dr. Joel N. Myers, founder of Dads’ Resource Center. “Our culture desperately needs to reset in a way that reemphasizes fatherhood. It is a disservice to our mothers and fathers, and most importantly to our children, when fathers are kept out of the equation.”
One way that people can improve their healthy co-parenting skills is to practice mindfulness. Those who practice mindfulness are more focused on the here and now, instead of being caught up in the emotions of what happened before. They are also less reactive and tend to have less stress. A study published in the August 2021 issue of the journal Family Process, looked at how mindfulness impacts co-parenting. Their research showed that increasing mindfulness can promote meaningful change within the family system and can lead to improvements in co-parenting and parent-child interactions.
Here are 6 signs of healthy co-parenting:
Kids come first. The most important part of co-parenting is that both parents agree that the child comes first. The relationship that the parents have that point is to ensure that they do their best for their child. A healthy sign of co-parenting is seeing both parents attend an event for the child, where they are there near each other, being kind, and the child doesn’t feel stress as a result.
Parents agree. While parents may not agree on everything, co-parents need to agree on the major issues. These include that healthy co-parenting is a must, but also on issues such as discipline and health. If both parents are on the same page about major issues it will go a long way toward avoiding controversy, and will help the child know their boundaries.
Flexibility is allowed. Having set schedules is nice and can help with predictability, but there needs to be room for things that weren’t planned. Whether it’s a party or extended family visit from out of town, having some flexibility is healthy for the children. It shows that people compromise and will work together.
Respect is shown. Healthy co-parenting means being nice to one another in front of the child. They hear and see what is going on and they learn how to treat others by what their parents do. If parents treat each other with respect, that will teach the child to treat others with respect as well.
Kids get time. Both parents need to have time with the child. Far too often, one parent will try to get the majority of the time, leaving the other parent with very little. While this may feel like success, because it’s punishing the other parent, it’s really not. It’s the child that is being punished and will suffer.
Communication is key. Healthy co-parenting requires there to be an open line of communication. Parents need to communicate about things that are going on, and kids need to have constant access both parents, just as they would if everyone lived under the same roof.
“Parenting is a two-person job,” added Dads’ Resource Center Executive Director Jeff Steiner. “Even in a separated family, both parents should view the other parent as an equal partner in the upbringing of their children. More than anything else, children want and need both of their parents actively engaged throughout their childhood to have the best chance to be successful in life.”
Dads’ Resource Center was started by Dr. Myers, a father of eight, and the founder and CEO of AccuWeather. The mission is to help combat the issues associated with children growing up without their fathers in the home. At its heart, the center is a child advocacy organization that aims to ensure that each child has the appropriate involvement and contributions from both parents.
Dads’ Resource Center has been established to benefit children of separated or divorced parents by advocating the importance of fathers having adequate opportunities to fulfill their role of fatherhood. The group helps get information regarding the issues out to the public and work with fathers to help make improvements. To get more information, visit the site at: https://dadsrc.org.
About Dads’ Resource Center
The Dads’ Resource Center is committed to providing education, resources and advocacy for dads who are separated or divorced and are determined to uphold their sacred responsibility as fathers. The Dads’ Resource Center was founded by Dr. Joel N. Myers, who is the founder and CEO of AccuWeather. His own experience as a single father led him to starting the group. To get more information, visit the site at: https://dadsrc.org.