To nurture well, the co-parents need to evolve from their conflicts to having clear goals, plans, priorities, “job description” (roles), and rules based on consensus. Although individual co-parents will have unique goals, most parents will strive for some general, basic long-term co-parenting outcomes.
Your child should:
●Steadily feel and be shown unconditional love
●Steadily feel and be shown conditional respect
●To have his or her fears, dreams, feelings, hopes, and needs listened to
●Have a/all co-parent(s) play the role of loyal companion, friend, and playmate
●Be given merited praise and recognition often
●Feel and be shown honest affection
●Be given healthy touching, hugs, and kisses
●Be encouraged and guided, rather than criticized and shamed
●Be protected from abuses, dangers, and neglect
The co-parents need to agree on who is responsible to consistently model and teach your child:
●Self respect and non-egoistic pride
●Self nurturing values and skills
●Self protection skills
●Personal honesty and accountability
●Personal hygiene values and habits
●Proper bathroom manners and behaviours
●Verbal and written communication skills
●Effective problem solving skills
●Nudity, modesty, and privacy standards
●Proper ethical and moral judgment
●Respectful attitude about race, gender, background, etc
Practically, the co-parents need to have clarity in terms of who is responsible for the following areas of your child’s life:
●Health & growth
Aim for consistency
It’s healthy for your child to be exposed to different perspectives and to learn to be flexible, but they also need to know they’re living under the same basic set of expectations at each home. Aiming for consistency between your home and the co-parent’s avoids confusion for your child. Consistency needs to be in 3 main areas:
●Rules. Rules do not have to be exactly the same, but if both co-parents establish generally consistent guidelines, your child will not have to bounce back and forth between two radically different disciplinary environments. Important lifestyle rules like homework issues, curfews, and off-limit activities should be followed in both households.
●Discipline. Try to follow similar systems of consequences for broken rules, even if the infraction didn’t happen under your roof. So, if your kids have lost TV privileges while at the other co-parents’ house, follow through with the restriction. The same can be done for rewarding good behavior.
●Schedule. Where you can, aim for some consistency in your child’s schedules. Making meals, homework, and bedtimes similar can go a long way toward your child’s adjustment to having two homes.