What Is Co-parenting?

o-parenting couple and child

One of the parenting terms that has entered the modern zeitgeist, is the term co-parenting. You might have heard of it, and maybe you know people who participate in that. 


In any case, there is a lot of misunderstanding and downright ignorance when it comes to co-parenting.  For starters let’s answer the main question of this blog. 


Co-parenting is a parenting style in which the parents are connected only through their desire and willingness to be there for their children. This is most commonly found within divorced couples with shared custody.


Usually divorces are messy and can leave anyone involved with quite the bitter taste in their mouth. When it comes to young minds, these effects become even worse.


Co-parenting came to life as a means to provide a sense of normalcy for children affected by divorces and for the parents to try their best to protect the children.


From this point of view, co-parenting becomes something quite noble. Two responsible adults decide to put aside their differences, just so they don’t harm their children. 


Co-parenting misconceptions


Co-Parenting Couple Dinner


Usually when people hear this description of co-parenting, they immediately think that this is usually what every divorced couple does… That isn’t completely true though.


People often make the mistake of clustering co-parenting as the same with parallel parenting. Parallel parenting is parenting practiced by divorced couples too but it is quite different.


Where parenting requires the parents to spend time together, in public and in private, parallel parenting can be done by each parent on their own. 


parenting means parenting together, even though you aren’t there isn’t anything else holding the parents together. 


Another major thing about co-parenting is that, sometimes people practice parenting with children that aren’t biologically related to them. 


In a study done by Oxford, they shed some light on the phenomenon of people who search parenting online. The study is a fascinating read into the psychology of these individuals. 


‘Elective co-parenting’ as it is referred in the study, used to be something mainly associated with the gay community. This study however, goes to show that there is more to co-parenting…


The rise of websites that are designed to connect couples looking to partake in co-parenting, has in turn created a visible rise in the amount of heterosexual men and women looking for co-parenting partners.


Another leading misconception is that co-parenting is a style of parenting like Authoritative Parenting. That isn’t precisely so, and there is much more nuance to this than that. 


People partaking in co-parenting are capable of using Authoritative parenting if they so choose. Co-parenting shall be viewed less as a parenting style and more as a parenting alternative. 


4 Co-parenting tips


Black Family At The Beach


As you can see it is co-parenting can be hard to understand and maybe even hard to pin down precisely. There is a huge debate about this and some people view co-parenting as the end of the world.


Instead of trying to put this debate to rest, we will avoid it completely and allow you to make your own judgement. What we will focus on instead is tips for those among you co-parenting:


  1. Set feelings aside – First and foremost, when it comes to co-parenting tips, feelings take the throne. If you won’t be able to remove them from the equation and function properly, you won’t be able to have a healthy co-parenting relationship with your children or even with your co-parenting partner. The idea here is simple: don’t let your hate, love, admiration, despise or anything, get in the way of providing a loving and caring environment for the children. 


  1. Plan it out – Living a spontaneous life can be really fun. What won’t be fun is having a spontaneous co-parenting relationship. You see, there are definitely difficulties associated with this parenting way. It is always better to have a plan. Set limitations and expectations and hear your co-parenting partner’s side too. Make sure you are clear when setting these boundaries as changing them later on, can be counterproductive. 


  1. Put Children First – Co-parenting is going to be challenging for anyone. Remember that the sole reason why co-parenting exists (at least most of the time), is to provide a sense of unity, warmth and family for the children. That’s why you should always put them first. Be open when talking to them, let them know about changes in advance. Most important of all, never, ever, drag them into the drama you might be having with your co-parenting partner. 


  1. Don’t attract attention – Now this might come off as a bit of a judgement. That isn’t the intention at all. The idea here is that attracting attention towards you and your children, might make them feel put on the spot, and give them a sense of alienation. For co-parenting to be efficient, it shouldn’t be the reason why you get attention. This is something that can happen when attending events together, or when spending time together in general. 


Co-parenting is definitely something new, and based on all the data it is going to grow in  numbers in the future. Hopefully this has been somewhat helpful for both sides here… 


Whether you were looking to know what co-parenting is, or were in the hunt for some co-parenting tips, we hope this post served you at least a little bit.