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How to co-parent successfully

Navigating so-parenting can be challenging especially if you’re always bumping heads with the other parent. We’ve roped in certified parent coach Laura Markovitz, to help you find common common ground.

Glamour: What does it mean to co-parent effectively?

Laura: If you can co – parent effectively you are able to make space for your own often difficult and complicated feelings towards your ex, whilst remaining conscious of not letting these feelings infiltrate how you parent. This will mean parents are able to think big picture and keep the children’s best interests in mind in how they parent. When you are co-parenting effectively the adults can be adults and the children can be left to being children who are held and supported by their adult parents.

Glamour: As a coach, what is your role in assisting parents who would like to pursue a healthy co-parenting relationship?

Laura: I encourage parents to stay focussed on how they can keep things as predictable, safe and containing for their children in amongst a massively stressful time for everyone. Often parents come to me when they have been co-parenting for a bit of time and things are not going so well and they want to think through how to improve some sticking points. It is an incredibly powerful moment when parents who are often hurt, disappointed or angry with each other are able to sit down and really focus on how to hold their children in mind better and make thoughtful changes to their behaviour. I provide a safe and containing space for parents to think through options and ways to action these options. We may discuss things like how parents communicate with each other about the children, how to manage transitions between parents’ homes and anything else that comes up and feels loaded and stuck. We try and come up with a plan to manage the loaded and difficult issues better.

Glamour: When should parents consider coaching and what are the benefits of it?

Laura: Things do not need to be dire to consider seeing a coaching. In fact, it can often be useful to just have a space to check in that thing feel ok and that things are being managed well. When we are in the thick of things it can be hard to see what is working or what may be exacerbating problems for everyone involved. Of course, if things are particularly problematic then it is definitely helpful to seek support to help shift things. No one wants to maintain toxic patterns and dynamics most especially when these are impacting children. Parents often share that through coaching they feel they are more equipped with options in how to handle things and have a larger source of words they can use with their children.

Glamour: What are some of the challenges parents encounter when it comes to co-parenting?

Laura: Managing their own hurt, loss, pain and anger

  • Managing their own guilt that they may feel in causing distress to their child through the changes that come with separation and divorce.
  • Sometimes parents overcompensate with their children because of guilt and struggle to put up healthy and consistent boundaries for their kids.
  • Dealing with the financial implications of co-parenting which are often fraught after separation and divorce.
  • Sometimes parents want to control what is happening in the other home which cannot be done. Parents need to remember they can only control what happens in their home and should try and ensure a warm, loving and supportive environment for their children with consistent, fair and reasonable boundaries.

Glamour: What's your advice to a parent who is co-parenting with a difficult ex?

Laura: Make sure you have good support. People that you can talk to, vent to and hold you.

  • Get professional support if this feels indicated to support you.
  • Make sure you take care of yourself – find ways to take care of yourself so that you are better equipped to deal with the often-maddening reality of a difficult ex.
  • Make sure you have a solid parenting plan in place that governs financial as well as scheduling issues so that you are not leaving everything to chance, whims and discussion.
  • Find the most efficient way to communicate – this is different for different people. For some verbal communication can become explosive so written is better. For some written can be too cryptic and long winded and nasty.

Glamour: Please list some effective strategies for parents who are determined to co-parent successfully?

  • Remember that the children need to be held in mind and what is best for them.
  • Communication is often the number one sticking point for ex’s navigating the co-parenting landscape
  • Similarly, communication with the children is key. Make sure that they know what is happening.
  • Think about the handover times and where these will be and how they will happen.
  • Come up with new rituals in your home in how you do things like celebrating birthdays or religious holidays.
  • Practise empathy!
  • Don’t forget the boundaries.

Laura’s top five tips for effective co-parenting?

  • Make sure that you have healthy outlets to process your own feelings of hurt, pain, loss and anger caused by the end of your relationships so that the children are not having to absorb or manage these feelings.
  • Communicate with your kids about what is happening. Make schedules known and predictable to them.
  • Practise empathy. Make space for children to identify and express all their feelings and be able to mirror and reflect what they feel. Remember we cannot and should not always try to fix the hard feelings (no matter how much we want to) rather concentrate on helping children’s perspectives to be seen and understood. For example, if they say “I am missing mom.” Don’t respond with , “But I am here and you will see mom in 2 days time.” Rather say something like, “I know it feels hard to be away from mom and that makes you feel sad sometimes.”
  • Allow children to be children and not take on adult roles. For example, do not use children as confidantes and bad mouth your ex to your children as conspirators or in ager. It only puts them in a difficult position with someone that remains their other parent and this makes them feel torn and disloyal. Similarly, do not use your children as messengers to your ex even if it is about arrangements. This again puts them in awkward and unfair positions.
  • Be cognisant of the transition time from one parent to the other. This is a time of adapting to so much: they may be with you but they have to be without their other parent, rules may be different, their home base is different, they don’t have their stuff around them that they have in another home, they may have pets that are not around etc.

For more information on co-parenting or to get in touch with Laura, visit

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