Parenting is no easy feat, but add a break-up into the mix and suddenly, it seems like an insurmountable task.
The truth is co-parenting is no walk in the park, but it’s not impossible, it simply requires a level head and the maturity to bury the hatchet – if only for the sake of your child.
“Good co-parenting comes from a good relationship and it’s just about putting all your other differences aside and focusing on the child,” DJ Zinhle recently said in an interview with Sowetan.
In the past few months, DJ Zinhle and her baby daddy AKA have been demonstrating what winning at the co-parenting game looks like, with AKA’s heartfelt Mother’s Day message and treat, which was reciprocated this past weekend, with Zinhle calling him the coolest and best dad.
“Glad to be doing this with you, Kairo is the luckiest girl,” she wrote in an Instagram post.
Here are a few strategies that will help make co-parenting after a breakup that much easier.
Communication is key
Clare Rowe, a clinical psychologist, says the best place to start is by keeping the lines of communication open, despite any initial feelings of bitterness or hurt you may be harbouring towards your ex.
“Some basic ideas to getting things started include setting up good email or text communication that is child focused, non-emotional and does not blame each other,” she suggests.
“Replying promptly to requests for information builds trust between parents and including each other on information such as school notes, achievement awards and party invites is made simple now by simply texting through photos to each other.”
Don’t bad-mouth your ex
Bad-mouthing your former partner will only hurt your child in the end and could in fact, lead to issues of resentment from the child later on in life.
“The danger of bad-mouthing is that eventually the truth will come out, which could cause the child to resent you,” says counselling psychologist Andreas Mphunga.
“It’s important to remember that the child has relationships with extended family members of the parent you’re speaking badly of. And these could be the people who correct everything the child has heard about their other parent, and so expose your agenda.”
Respect at all times
Respect is key to co-parenting harmoniously. The last thing a child needs to be dealing with, on top of the ordeal of their parents splitting, is the trauma of parents who consistently fight. Try to avoid confrontations in front of your child.
If you and your ex are on friendly terms, see how often you’re able to support one another in your personal endeavours where possible.
This will go a long way in presenting a united parenting front, which will ultimately positively impact your child.
Talk to your kids about your former partner’s strengths
Every person has strengths and positive attributes and these are the qualities about your former partner that you should be engaging your child with.
Focus on building your ex in their eyes. This will help them see and understand that their parents are great people who just weren’t great for each other.