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Tips for successful co-parenting after divorce

Raising a child with two sets of parents can be a challenge. However, some Alberta families have been able to establish co-parenting plans that work for everyone involved. Although it isn't always easy to keep lines of communication open after a difficult divorce or a remarriage, following certain steps can help create stability for a child and peace for step-families.

One thing parents can do to establish successful co-parenting is to try manage their emotional reactions to things and avoid taking difficult changes personally. For example, a child establishing a connection with a step-parent may actually be a very positive thing for them. Despite initial reactions, it can be wise to avoid placing blame or responding out of jealousy and focus on what is best for the child.

Maintaining predictability can help both children and parents adjust to a co-parenting plan. Even if parents live in different parts of Alberta, children should know which home they will be going to and benefit from not being privy to any conflicts about scheduling. Consistent house rules and structure can also encourage a sense of security and consistency.

Despite any feelings one parent may have about the other following a divorce, refraining from speaking negatively in front of the child is very important to maintain peace in a co-parenting relationship. A child should not be brought into adult issues. Speaking cordially of step-parents is also important in a child's presence.

Parents should have a common goal of establishing a plan that is best for the child. However, even if they share concerns for their child, some parents need professional help to finalize a divorce and try to establish co-parenting plans. Alberta mediators and family lawyers are great resources for people undergoing these processes. 

Source: Globalnews.ca, "How to make co-parenting work: Mom is grateful for child's step-mom - National", Dani-Elle Dube, Aug. 22, 2017

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