When this happens, many parents are unprepared.

Most people have thought about the type of parent they hope to be, sometimes even before they conceive. They have an idea of some of the challenges and rewards parenthood may yield, but few go so far as to start planning on how to coparent, so they’re prepared if it ever happens. 

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Which means if you find yourself suddenly in that position, it can feel messy and tricky. Especially when accompanied by a side of hurt, and other raw emotions.

So, how do you proceed? 

First, as divided as the two of you may be, there’s one thing you still agree on: your kids come first. Always. 

Always, always, always!

Agreeing to this at the onset helps align the two of you in a healthier co-parenting dynamic. But that doesn’t mean feelings such as anger, resentment – whatever – aren’t going to show up from time to time.

The best way to proceed into this new space is to prepare. 

Here are a handful of tips – things you should do – to help you navigate this new territory. 

You CAN successfully co-parent, think: Communicate, Arrange, Notify. 

These tips are from childreninthemiddle.com


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  • Make sure to keep communication civil

  • DO NOT badmouth or direct any ill will toward your ex in front of the children

  • Do not try to pry information from your child as to what their other parent is up to 

  • If things are especially contentious or emotionally charged, set a boundary to communicate only about things related to the children

  • Be sure to discuss and come up with a similar arrangement as far as rules, bed times, routines, and expectations of the children. It’s a big change for them, and keeping things as consistent as possible as they move back and forth between homes makes things easier for them. 

  • Don’t refer to the child’s other parent as your “ex,” at least not in front of them. Spare your kids from hearing you refer to their other parent by other less savory names as well. They are, “your mother” or “your father.” 


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  • Some people choose to use a mediator to help arrange a schedule. Others are able to reach an agreement on their own. 

How you do it is not important. Just make sure there is a consistent schedule in place, so everyone, including your children, know what to expect.

  • Include meeting places for child exchanges, etc. Arrange who’s responsible for what. Make sure all the logistics involved are clearly laid out. 


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  • Notify the other parent of any upcoming appointments or anything on your child’s schedule that they need to be aware of. 

  • If there is a change in schedule, you’re running late, or would like to switch something around, notify the other parent as soon as possible. 

  • If you’re traveling, or want to plan a vacation with the kids, be sure to notify the person you’re coparenting with before you book a hotel and buy tickets. 

There’s no doubt that this is challenging. 

And again, remember not letting your issues spill onto your children is of upmost importance. Your issues are not their issues. If it helps, feel free to share this with your child’s other parent. 

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If you’re struggling and need some extra support, therapy is an excellent resource. Your therapist will help you clearly navigate these sometimes murky waters. Just like you, they have your children’s interests at heart, and will support both you and your ex, helping you to both be the parents your children deserve. 

Our therapists at the Relationship Therapy Center have helped bridge the gap between two households, making this transition easier for everyone involved. We offer in person and remote sessions. Give us a call today, we’re here to help guide you on this new journey.

Begin Co-Parenting Counseling in Roseville, CA and Fair Oaks, CA:

You and your ex are no longer together. Now that the relationship has ended, it is time to learn how to co-parent. Counseling can help. Our team of marriage therapists are ready to help you resolve issues and improve communication so you can focus on meeting the needs of your children. To begin counseling in the Sacramento Area, please follow these three steps:

Other Services offered at The Relationship Therapy Center:

In addition to co-parent counseling, Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. Our couples services include: Couples Counseling, Counseling after infidelity, sex therapy, co-parent counseling, family therapy, divorce counseling, intensive couples retreats, and premarital counseling. Our individual therapy services include anxiety treatment, therapy for children, teen therapy, depression treatment, codependency counseling and individual relationship counseling. Our therapists offer online counseling in California to treat a variety of mental health concerns. Please reach out to our Sacramento area therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you or your loved ones.