What Is Co-parenting?

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Co-parenting is a type of parenting were two adults (or more) come together to raise and take responsibility for the same children, but they are not living under the same roof. It enables adults to share responsibility for the children. The adults may be a couple who are separated or divorced, or the parents of the children might co-parent with a same-sex couple who do not plan on having children of their own.

In 2004, Egeren and Hawkins described the term co-parenting as a mutual arrangement between at least two mature individuals to have conjoined responsibility for a child’s upbringing, regardless of the individuals’ sexual orientation or the child’s biological link to them. According to research, this arrangement may be a good alternative for people who want to have babies but do not want to have a long-lasting relationship with the partner.

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Characteristics of Co-parenting

Co-parenting gives people the freedom to exercise their duty and rights as parents even if they are not living together with their partners. The co-parents share the obligation to fulfill the basic and emotional needs of their children. The children, in turn, experience the mutual love of the co-parents. In order to be effective, co-parenting needs to have well-defined rules and conditions that govern the relationship between the co-parents and the children, and everyone should agree to the terms of the agreement.

Studies show that the most challenging part of co-parenting is establishing who the lead parent is. The lead parent consolidates and coordinates the co-parenting arrangement to ensure that the conditions of the agreement are met (Pla-Barber, 2017). This can be difficult if communication between the co-parents is distorted, and someone must intervene to help them decide.

Effects of Co-parenting

Every parent desires to see his or her children grow and eventually become mature and able adults. However, the idea of co-parenting may be confusing to children. Some children may not fully understand the arrangement and may wonder why they have to continually switch from one parent to the other. This may negatively affect children’s mental health and social development. The co-parents must do their part to ensure that the co-parenting arrangement does not affect the general growth of their children.

According to research, the attitude and growth of the children in a co-parenting arrangement depend wholly on the way the children’s caregivers behave and operate. In addition, the co-parents’ disciplinary methods greatly impact the children’s behavior. These parameters contribute significantly to the children’s general development, for better or worse. Co-parents ought to forego their personal differences and put the children first. Successful co-parenting is the key to proper psychological growth and adjustment.

Co-parenting after divorce
Co-parenting after Divorce

References

Pla-Barber, Jose, Cristina Villar, and Anoop Madhok. “Co-Parenting: A Model of Value Creation in the Multinational Network.” (2017). Retrieved from https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3

Jadva, Vasanti, Tabitha Freeman, Erika Tranfield, and Susan Golombok. “‘Friendly Allies in Raising a Child’: A Survey of Men and Women Seeking Elective Co-parenting Arrangements via an Online Connection Website.” Human Reproduction 30, no. 8 (2015): 1896–1906. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com

Van Egeren, Laurie A., and Dyane P. Hawkins. “Coming to Terms with Coparenting: Implications of Definition and Measurement.” Journal of Adult Development 11, no. 3 (2004): 165–178. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article

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