Successful co-parenting tips for Texas parents

Taking certain steps may help Texas parents ensure their co-parenting arrangement is a successful and positive experience for their families.

While they may determine it is in their best interests to separate as a couple, many people in Texas decide to continue parenting together after a divorce. Through co-parenting, they may share the rights and responsibilities of raising their children. Positive shared parenting is vital for the well-being of children, as well as their parents, after a divorce and may be associated with increased socioemotional, behavioral and cognitive development in children. Understanding what steps to take in order to put their children's needs first and avoid potential conflict may help parents ensure a successful co-parenting experience for their families.

Maintain open lines of communication

Effective communication allows people to stay in touch with what is going on in their children's lives, even when they are with their other parents, and to stay on top of any challenges they may face. Discussing issues as they come up and giving each other regular updates may help keep the small misunderstandings that are inevitable when co-parenting from escalating into serious conflicts. Further, it shows their kids that they can set aside their differences for their benefit. If they are unable to have amicable discussions face-to-face, people may instead choose to communicate via text message, email or through co-parenting apps.

Aim for peaceful transitions

Getting used to a new schedule and sharing time between two homes is challenging enough for children of divorced parents. It may be even more difficult when parents are hostile toward one another during the transitions or if the dropping off-parent is overly upset. Therefore, people should make every effort to ensure the pick-ups and drop-offs are smooth and positive experiences for their children.

Stick to the schedule

Stability is important for children as they grow and adapt to the significant life changes that the divorce of their parents brings. Particularly during the initial adjustment period, people can provide their kids with some much-needed consistency by sticking to their custody and visitation schedules. For children who are old enough to understand, it is also helpful if they make their kids aware of the schedule. This lets kids know where they will be and when, as well as when they will see each parent.

Establish consistent rules

Just as they would agree on certain rules if they were raising their children together, it is important for divorced parents to establish boundaries and rules to be followed at both homes. This includes creating a list of chores, determining when homework should be completed, and establishing a bedtime or curfew. Maintaining consistent rules provides stability in children's lives and helps facilitate positive parent-child relationships.

Support the children's needs

Each child may cope with the changes brought about by their parents' divorce differently. Parents are encouraged to allow their children to feel their emotions and to act them out, within reason. If their reactions are extreme or go on for a long period of time, people may consider seeking professional assistance.

Work with an attorney

When couples in Texas and elsewhere make the difficult decision to divorce, it does not affect their love for their children or their desire to do what is best for them. Should they determine a shared parenting arrangement is appropriate for their families, it may benefit people to seek legal guidance. An attorney may assist them in creating a parenting time schedule, as well as establishing a shared custody agreement that stipulates how disputes and other issues should be handled.