Being a good coparent is more than offering a stern, "Listen to your mother."
You might call him your partner, but are you really on the same team? When it comes to your kids, you might not be, and that can lead to confusion, stress, and resentment. But being a good coparent is more than offering a stern, "Listen to your mother."
To find out if you've been doing right by your parenting partner (and if your partner is doing right by you), read on.
1. You Keep a United Front
The golden rule in coparenting is to maintain a consistently united front with your kids, whether that comes to disciplining, nutrition, or bedtimes. If one parent, even on the rare occasion, undermines the other by allowing an extra hour on the computer with a hushed “don’t tell your father,” it can curtail any collective strides you’ve made.
If you both want to alter a previously held position, that’s fine. Just do so together.
2. You Provide Backup
Both parents agreeing on a decision is the most important part, yes, but it doesn’t end there. If your partner is always the one instituting your shared plan, it can appear one-sided to your kids. Both should share in the role of enforcer, either by doing it together or alternating.
3. You Agree to Try Things Another Way
You won’t always see eye to eye on how to proceed with your child’s care. However you decide to compromise, just make sure that you both arrive at a solution you can live with.
For some, it’s going with who feels most strongly about the course of action (for instance, your partner might say, “I don’t know if it’s right, but my gut tells me it is — can you give me a chance to do it this way?”). For others, it’s simply recounting who got their way last time and switching it up.
4. You Don't Force Resolution
Sometimes no amount of discussion will get you both to agree on something. Unless it’s time sensitive, put a pin in it. Plenty of parenting decisions don’t need to be made overnight.
Take the time to research your options, consult with your child’s teacher or pediatrician when relevant, and process your partner’s feelings on the matter before bringing it up again.
5. You Never Say "I Told You So"
Those four little words can do a lot of damage when it comes to any argument, but it can be especially hurtful when it involves a parenting decision. You are both learning as you go, so even if you were right, bite your tongue. Eventually, you’ll be wrong, and you’ll appreciate the same understanding from your partner.
6. You Celebrate Every Success
Disciplining your child can be emotionally exhausting. Even if the situation isn’t a happy one (you didn’t let him go to a sleepover because he didn’t clean his room), quietly applaud your shared ability to tackle it as a team.
When you can toast to a small victory over a glass of wine, it will make the next problem, when it inevitably arises, feel less daunting.
This article was originally published at Popsugar Moms. Reprinted with permission from the author.