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3 co-parenting styles: Which one fits your family?

Parenting after divorce can be an immense challenge for any mom or dad. Not only can you still be reeling from the emotional blows of your divorce, you can also be struggling with the task of raising your kids separately but together.

Considering all the obstacles, transitions and stressors that you have to deal with during this time, it can be enormously helpful to have some sort of guide that helps you through such a difficult situation. For instance, you can use your parenting plan to dictate the style of parenting you and your ex will observe. This will give you the tools and guidance you need to adjust to a new way of parenting.

According to one study, there are as many as five types of co-parenting. However, we can break these down into three general styles:

  • Cooperative
  • Separate
  • Conflicting

Depending on your style, you can set the rules and expectations for your co-parenting arrangement.

For instance, if you and your ex are going to be cooperative, you can include in your parenting plan rules for things like discipline, curfews, extracurricular activity participation and other areas where you want to be sure that you are consistently sending the same message to your child.

If you plan to parent separately, you can set some basic guidelines to make sure you are still on the same page when it comes to the bigger picture without having to communicate on a regular basis. So, instead of establishing rules for routine parenting, you can establish rules for things like college payment contributions, education expectations and religion.

If your styles are conflicting, defining methods of dispute resolution in your parenting plan will be crucial, as arguments are very likely to arise.

There is no one right style when it comes to co-parenting; every person parents differently. Instead of fighting against this reality, you can take some steps to acknowledge the challenges that can arise and do your best to plan ahead. Not only can this give you some relief in knowing what to expect, it can also help provide much-needed guidance as you navigate the co-parenting process.

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