Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Co-Parenting: Why Kids Benefit from Both Parent's Participation

American families come in many different shapes and forms.  But no matter the form, when children are involved, the health of the parents relationship - whether married, divorced, same sex or other - is vital to the development of the child.

In fact, studies show that co-parenting can have a positive impact on a child as young as 3 - 4 months old!

What is 'co-parenting' and is it the same as being involved in your children's lives?

Co-parenting is two adults working together as parents to raise a child. Having the same values, goals, rules, boundaries and structure is crucial for a child's well being and growth.  

Parents are constantly trying to manage the pressures and stress that work and family can cause to even the closest of couples. Scheduling at least weekly time for discussions about your child's progress and behavior is a good start to keep your child on the path that is right for your family goals.

Parent involvement is key to family growth and bonding with your child. But it can get tricky.

Going to my son's Karate match and cheering him on by myself,  is not the same as working with my wife and making sure my son gets his homework done and checks his work.  Enjoying the afternoon with just you and your child is a totally different experience from a family outing with both parents.

Different personalities and relationships change the way we react to each other.

If parents don't have a clear understanding of what their goals are for the specific family outing or project, the child can easily sense it. Your child knows when mom and dad are not on the same page. As parents, you must have a clear path so your child has a focused direction to follow, and understands what both parents expect of them.

Our children come to us for advice, knowledge and confidence building that will last them a lifetime.  Each child's needs are different. Good co-parenting skills make the changes needed to match the personality of each individual child. Knowing that parents are still communicating, even if mom and dad don't live together anymore, can be a great strength for a child in times of adversity. When parents work with each other to achieve consistency and trust, our children will feel safe and secure and grow up to be well adjusted adults.  

So what makes a good co-parent?

Communication is key.  The more open and honest you are with your spouse, the faster the complications of working through issues will be resolved.  

You have a partner.  Someone you love and trust. The foundation for a family.  Co-operate. Compromise. Listen. You may even rely on that partnership for work, like my wife and I do with Ez Sox. And that bond is so important in parenting as well.

Good co-parenting will help develop your child's social skills, teach them strong core values and guide them to make good decisions during their developmental milestones.

Get more information on co-parenting and let us know what you think.  How do you co-parent and what are some of the obstacles you face?

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