By Motlagae Konyana
Parenting is challenging but it is even more difficult when the parents are no longer romantically involved and don’t get along. Many parents say that co-parenting can be hard, heartbreaking, filled with disapointments among other things that lead to the breakup. But for the sake and well-being of the child, parents are forced to put their differences aside and parent the child.
Co-parenting requires re-organising the family structure and for the parents to share the responsibilities and parental duties. Here we share a few guidelines to help you navigate your way through co-parenting so you can put your child’s well-being first.
A lot of couples fail to address and discuss issues they have. Regular and healthy communication is pivotal if parents are co-parenting. There are a number of things to think about when it comes to communicating with your ex, ask yourself the way you communicate with your ex – how would that affect your child? Ensure that when communicating with your ex the child is the focal point at all times. Have open and honest communication with your ex about your child and work to put your differences aside in order to raise the child.
Ideally it would be great if co-parents were open about their finances and how the child fits in. This is a sensitive issue that could create more problems if the other parent defaults on maintainece payments or other parental duties. To avoid fights between the parents – you should be transparent about each others’ financial abilities. Discuss how much each parent will contribute towards the child and keep to the agreed arrangements. Both parents need to understand that they are both equally responsible to the finances of the child.
Remember that change is difficult and can be very disruptive in a child’s life. It is important to keep the arrangements consistent.
HERE IS WHAT OTHER SINGLE PARENTS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT CO-PARENTING
“Always parent in your child’s best interest, even if it bruises your ego!” – Natasha
“Having a child out of wedlock is not as complicated as everyone thinks but having a child out of wedlock and separating with the father is a bit of a stressful event.” – Lerato
“The day I realised the father of my child was cheating and had no plans making an honest woman out of me I had to make the decision to get myself out of the equation and think about our son. Today we make it a point that every second weekend my son is with his father. It has been easy but a little bit difficult when a new partner comes in cause now priorities change.” – Lebo
“I feel it is the responsibility of a mother to make sure a father and child relationship is there (if the father wants to be present). For instance if dad wants to cancel pick up day it irritates me but ngwana Ke wa Mme (a child is a mother’s) I have to be strong and not use that to say no to him wanting to pick up his son another convenient time.”
“Co-parenting is made easier by the mother and truth is my baby daddy ain’t all bad, he has his flaws but I cannot change the fact that he loves his son and therefore I will make sure that the co-parenting works even if it drains me at times rather that than see my son suffer. Hence Christmas time – one year with me, the other with dad. That’s the reality of our lives forever.” – Lebo