For many parents sharing parenting after separation, one parent is the ‘primary carer’ and the other spends their time with their child at weekends and holidays. As part of our ’10 Ways to …’ series of weekly parenting tips, here are our suggestions on minimising stress and helping both parents to focus on keeping the child at the centre of parenting.
10 Ways to Successful Shared Parenting
- You will always be parents: no matter what happened in the adult relationship you will both still be the parents of your child. Allow each other to parent.
- Move on: get support to deal with what happened in the adult relationship and move on to a relationship which is focused on parenting your children.
- Communicate: it is not possible for you both to parent unless you work out how to both feel safe in communicating with each other.
- Parenting Agreement: work with professionals (such as our trained staff at One Family or other professional organisations) and get support to develop a parenting agreement.
- Respect: respect each other as parents of your child. Talk positively about the other parent to your child.
- Support your child: listen to your child, support them to have a relationship with both parents. They have a right to safe contact with both parents.
- Talk: allow your child to talk about how they feel. What is life like for them? Just listen and acknowledge what they are saying and how they are feeling
- Involve family: with very young children it is hard to let them go on contact visits. Try to have friends and family support you both until you feel confident the parent can manage. They may just need experience.
- Conflict: do not get into arguments in front of your child. Don’t talk about maintenance or other issues at handover times. Plan a time to talk when the child is not present and the impact will not affect your parenting later that day.
- Keep your child at the centre: it’s your child’s contact not yours. Support them to have it and to own it. Seek professional support to help with your feelings and anxieties over contact.
In cases where there is addiction, domestic violence or other similar challenges, please seek professional support before engaging in contact.
One Family offers a course to help people sharing parenting which you can find out about here. Yesterday we wrote about Coping with the End of a Relationship. You can also find additional One Family supports here or call our askonefamily helpline on lo-call 1890 662 212.
This episode of ’10 Ways to …’ was compiled by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.
Coming soon: 10 Ways to Enjoy School Breaks and 10 Ways to Effective Toilet Training.