Shared parenting is one of the best ways to ensure that your child is happy and healthy when you and your ex are no longer together. However, although shared parenting is beneficial to both the parents and the child, it can be challenging to pull off.
Before you decide to co-parent with your ex, you should carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the factors to keep in mind.
Pros of Shared Parenting
Shared parenting can have many positive benefits, both on the child and the parents. These are the three advantages that we believe are the most important:
1. Improves Psychological Wellness of the Child
When separated parents decide to raise their child together, the child experiences an improvement in his or her psychological wellness. The reason for this is that children still have two “complete” parents, and they are never left wondering if one of their parents does not love them.
Additionally, when both parents decide to raise the child equally, there is often a decrease in conflict within the family. As a result, the child is not caught in the middle of a crossfire. More specifically, research shows that children of co-parenting experience higher levels of confidence and lower rates of anger.
2. Easy Childcare Arrangements
Co-parenting also makes childcare arrangements more straightforward. Especially if the two parents live in close proximity to one another, finding childcare is much easier. The reason for this is that the parents can rely on each other for childcare.
Parents who live close to one another may even be able to share baby monitors. Reviews show that dual-camera systems can be set-up to share footage while keeping full control over the camera in your own home. This way, parents can allow access at the times they agree on without sacrificing their privacy.
Being able to rely on one another for child care, either physical or by using a baby monitor, is better for both the parents and the child. From the parent’s perspective, they have a consistent and qualified caregiver, which alleviates stress in trying to find a good babysitter. From the child’s perspective, they get to bond more with both parents.
3. Financial Cushioning
Another benefit of shared parenting is that it removes the sole financial burden from one parent. Both parents are financially responsible for the child, which acts as a financial cushioning for both parties.
In cases where both parents took financial responsibility for the child, the families rarely return to court for re-litigation or child support.
Cons of Shared Parenting
Though shared parenting is extremely advantageous for both the parents and the child, there are a few cons to parenting with your ex. Let’s look at a few examples:
1. Parent Need to Make More Personal Sacrifices
When you are co-parenting with an ex, you may find that your or your ex’s mobility is limited. What this means is that you may find your decisions are limited, and you will probably have to make personal sacrifices to co-parent your child. As a result, you may not be able to take up that new job in a different city.
Shared parenting often leads to parents making significant sacrifices for their children, which should be heavily considered before deciding to become a co-parent. However, it is important to note that parenting, regardless of whether you and your ex are separated, often comes with personal sacrifices.
2. Parallel Parenting
Another con of shared parenting is that you and your ex may fall into the trap called parallel parenting. Parallel parenting is when you and your ex cannot come to an agreement on how to raise the child, so the child is raised differently depending on the parent.
Parallel parenting can be extremely detrimental to the health of the child. It may leave him or her confused and unsure of how to act. It then may also cause your child not to want to go to your or your ex’s house out of fear of stress or anger.
Overall, shared parenting comes with a lot of advantages and disadvantages. It will result in a more stable environment for the child, more financial cushioning, and easier childcare arrangements. At the same time, it may cause you to make more personal sacrifices and cause a phenomenon called parallel parenting.
Despite its disadvantages, it is often recommended to attempt shared parenting with your ex. To minimize the negative effects of co-parenting, it is important to keep a few tips and tricks in mind. These are the two most important tips to successfully co-parenting with an ex:
1. Make the Child the Priority
Most notably, make your child the number one priority. The main goal of co-parenting should be to better your child, not compete with your ex. If both you and the other parent are solely focused on the betterment of the child, many of the disadvantages of shared parenting go away.
2. Communication is Key
Additionally, make sure to have clear and open communication with your ex. Explicitly state expectations, parenting goals, and time constraints.
Being able to communicate about your parenting goals and styles will help you both to become better joint parents. This may be awkward at first, but it is necessary for being on the same page and successfully co-parenting your child.