A new kind of parenting – preferably as a team
When we collaborate with others, we need to do our part without interfering with what is the other’s responsibility. The same applies to parenting collaboration. It is not important to do exactly the same thing or stand for the same things. It’s okay to be different. But it makes it easier for the child when we respect each other and have basic common frameworks so that the child (and oneself) knows approximately what applies.
A summary of this article below.
Create balance and a healthy distance
When researchers interviewed parents who had recently separated, the parents described the freedom and joy of being able to be a parent in their own way without having to compromise. That feeling should of course be cherished. The art is to at the same time find a communication that carries the children between themselves and the coparent. It can be difficult to create a healthy distance from the other’s parenting. Few of us have the privilege of having absolute trust in each other. It is natural to be occupied by fantasies about what deficiencies may exist in the other’s home. That the other parent is emotionally absent, is bad at cooking or unable to regulate the child’s routines or longing for one self. Such fantasies suck energy.
Practice to let go and take responsibility
You cannot influence how the children have it in their other home without the coparent’s blessing and so you must train yourself to let go. Have faith that the other parent will grow into their role. Or find ways to communicate so that you can share your concerns and, if possible, be reassured. To make it easier, you need to discuss the level of insight and right to comment on each other’s parenting. The same rules must apply to both of you. A basic rule is that you both have respect for the other’s privacy when it comes to what happens in the other home and during the other parent’s time with the child. If one of you has a greater need for distance and clear boundaries, that must take precedence. Later on, when your parenting team has been established, the boundaries may become less strict.
Your differences provide your child with wider experiences
Even when we live together, we do things differently as parents. Kids know that their parents have different levels of willingness to let them have ice cream after dinner, even when the fridge is in a shared home. With time, the differences between your two homes will probably become bigger. You are both developing in different directions and the kids are getting used to the fact that you don’t do things the same way. The positive side of this is that they’re getting a broad experience and can find their own way with the help of your different interests, standpoints, and perspectives on the world.
If the gap between your homes is too large, however, it can be confusing and make them feel insecure. Too much energy is spent on trying to adapt to your different standards.
Establishing equal routines can often be helpful for young children. It is sensible, for example, to quit the use of a pacifier at both homes at the same time. Establishing common rules can also reduce the risk of teenagers playing you off against each other in order to get away with not having boundaries.
The boundaries between you should also be based on what works best for your child. Some need security in the form of consistent routines and rules. Others are more Bohemian and enjoy the fact that there are different ways of doing things. Can they handle the fact that you do and think differently? Would they feel better if you compromised and did more of the same? Coordinate yourselves by having an ongoing conversation about your child’s needs and developmental phases.
Concerns when it comes to necessary care for your child
If you are worried that your coparent is not providing the care that is necessary, you need to take action and seek support. You can contact the family office in your municipality, which can offer both individual and joint cooperation talks. There you can communicate your worries and get an outside opinion on the situation. If you are immediately worried, you should contact the social services in your municipality, which will start an investigation to assess the child’s situation and, if necessary, take measures.
- Working together is made easier when there is a basic trust between each other and that each party does their part.
- A basic rule is to have respect for each other’s privacy when it comes to what happens in the other home and during the other parent’s time with the child.
- Children can be enriched by their parents’ differences. But if the differences are too big, it can be too tough for the child. Then you need to talk about how to compromise to make life easier for the child.
- If you are worried about the co-parent failing in their care, you need to react and seek support, either from the Family Court or Social Services.