Co-parenting strategies may help Missouri couples navigate the challenges of sharing child custody. If you and your co-parent communicate and make shared decisions, you can build a relationship that supports your children’s well-being.
HelpGuide.org explains that the strength of the relationship between co-parents may affect a child’s mental and emotional health.
Children benefit from parents’ teamwork
A cooperative relationship with your ex will model a healthy adult relationship. Your children may feel more secure, have improved self-esteem and be better problem-solvers. A child who sees conflict between co-parents may be more likely to develop depression or anxiety.
You and your spouse do not need to have the exact same rules, but your children should have generally consistent expectations in both homes. This is especially important for issues like curfews and homework.
Communication is key
Keep your children at the center of all communications between parents. Communicate with respect, and listen to your spouse’s viewpoint even if you do not agree. You support your children’s well-being if you can set aside angry or hurt feelings.
If meeting in person is emotionally charged, talk on the phone or send texts or emails. Never use your children as messengers between you and their other parent.
Have smooth transitions
When you have separate homes, a child may struggle with transitions between houses. Help your children anticipate moves back-and-forth between homes. Be prompt as you drop your children off at your ex’s home. Dropping off is better than picking up so you do not “take” your children from your co-parent. Your children may feel more comfortable if they have basics like pajamas and a toothbrush at both homes. Special routines may also help ease transitions.
State law favors joint physical and legal custody. A cooperative relationship with your co-parent can support your family as you manage divorce and juggle separate households.