Co-Parenting Success: Building Consistency and Unity

It’s summertime—school’s out, and the kids, including yours and your ex’s, have more time at home. With the temporary break in school and activity schedules, it’s easy for the co-parenting arrangement to become lax. However, though the family structure is different now, consistency is still needed. Let’s explore building consistency and unity in parenting for your middle schooler.

Consistency in Parenting

Co-parenting is shared parental responsibility between two parties who are no longer romantically involved but have a child or children together. Ideally, it is an amicable, respectable relationship with the child or children’s best interest at the center.

Parenting may be the most terrifying, beautiful job of your life. It doesn’t come with a manual, yet you’re still expected to raise little humans into model citizens. Perhaps it gets easier over time, but one thing that definitely aids the experience is consistency. Parenting, like anything else, requires intentional effort to see persistent growth. Co-parenting requires an extra dose of effort because people are often working through ample amounts of pain caused by a “failed” relationship. Things are different between you and your ex, and maybe even hostile for a while, but then there are the kids. The intimate relationship between you and your ex ended, but a new relationship as co-parents begins.  

Co-parenting success depends on your commitment to consistently work on the relationship for the betterment of the family.

What does that look like in a co-parenting relationship?

Routines

Kids often benefit from routines because it lets them know what to expect in their environments. Though summertime is usually more laid back, you can still maintain routines to help your middle schoolers maintain consistency in the home.

Discipline

It’s important to maintain consistent disciplinary approaches. Keeping the same consequences for behavior in both households reinforces expectations and reduces confusion. It’s best if one parent isn’t seen as ‘lenient’ while the other is ‘strict’ as it may cause problems in the future.

Emotional stability

Co-parents should foster environments where the children feel equally supported, regardless of whose household they’re in that weekend. Both parents should ensure the kid(s) feel equally supported, loved and cared for at all times.

Communication

Commit to frequently communicating with your kids. They’re feeling the same angst you are about the family’s upheaval. Even if they protest, remember that communication is crucial during adolescence. If your middle schooler is prone to keeping things from you, take the initiative to stay on top of what’s happening in their lives. They need the support of both parents, even if they don’t know to ask for it.

Your kids will naturally test their limits but stick to your guns. The habits you instill now will help your child maintain consistency as they age.

Unified co-parenting

Adult problems should not become kid problems. Creating a “united front” may sound cliche but it’s in your kid’s best interest. Children should remain the focus of co-parenting, not personal preferences. When this attitude is adopted, it brings clarity to why certain decisions must be made in the best interest of the family.

How far should you go with the unified front?

Further than you think. It makes sense why you and your ex should be united on the big decisions concerning the kids (what schools they should attend, medical procedures, college fund etc.) but the little rules also matter too.

Pedrick Law Group says co-parenting is most effective when parents work together as a team and set aside their differences. The children’s emotional and mental well-being during this challenging period makes the effort worthwhile.

They recommend co-parents remain united on:

  • Bedtime
  • Chores
  • Allowance
  • Homework time
  • Screen time
  • Pet responsibilities 

Your kids feel the stress of the family’s new dynamic, too. The more consistency and unity you can maintain in the family, regardless of the household, the better the kids will be in the long run.

Children don’t have to miss out on a healthy upbringing when consistent, diligent co-parenting is present. When their parents master co-parenting, children feel more secure, understand problem-solving, and are mentally and emotionally healthier. During the middle school years, this stability can give them an extra-solid foundation for their future academic and extracurricular pursuits.

For more tips and guidance on co-parenting success for middle school parents, visit the Parent Zone.

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