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What expectations are realistic when co-parenting?

Co-parenting can be a delicate balance, even in the best of situations. In fact, many parents may have unrealistic expectations of their co-parent without even realizing it.

For instance, some parents might get upset when their children tell them that the other parent lets them stay up later. At the same time, these upset parents might not give a second thought to bending certain rules themselves. So, what is a realistic outlook to have?

What is in the parenting plan

In general, your co-parent should follow what is listed in the parenting plan. For one thing, the parenting plan probably specifies the time each of you has with the children. That time should be, as much as possible, yours. In other words, your co-parent should not be calling constantly during your weekend to interrupt and to talk to the children.

Communication on important issues

Important issues concerning your children have to do with their schooling and health, among other things. Both parents are not always able to attend school meetings and doctor appointments, so if something big or serious happens, it is realistic to expect that your co-parent communicates that to you somehow.

Professional behavior

It is not often that divorced co-parents can be overly friendly with each other, inviting each other to gatherings, parties and the like. What is realistic to expect is civil behavior. Think about how you and others would behave in a workplace setting, and follow that idea. So, hugs and dinner invitations are not necessary, but brief nods and eye contact during pickups and drop-offs can be.

If professional behavior in person is not possible, that is fine. Some co-parents use a method called parallel parenting, and it can work well.

A big key in co-parenting is recognizing your strengths and weaknesses and those of your co-parent. Knowing these, you can explore ways to maximize or minimize certain issues.

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