Co-parenting is an arrangement that gives your children the stability of knowing that both parents will still be active parts of their life. It also means that you and your ex will have to set some guidelines for the arrangement from the start. As time progresses, you can review what is going on so that you can gauge the situation and determine if there is anything that needs to be changed.
There are a few key points that must be addressed if the co-parenting relationship is going to work. These ensure that the relationship is healthy and what is best for the children. If you notice that any of these aren't present, you might need to determine how you can get things back on track. This can involve working with your ex to make it happen.
Mutual respect is imperative
Mutual respect is a cornerstone of a co-parenting relationship. You and your ex might not always get along, but you have to show respect to each other regardless. Be careful with how your words and actions might be perceived. This respect has to extend to others who deal with your children, so nobody who denigrates either parent should be allowed to be near the children. For the purpose of respect, you can usually advise everyone that maintaining businesslike communication is usually a good way to keep things where they need to be.
Child-centered, direct communication
You and your ex will communicate directly throughout the co-parenting relationship. You should never try to send messages through the children because there is a chance they will be misconstrued or the children will be privy to information they don't need to know. All information that is exchanged should be focused on the children.
Parents meet their responsibilities
All parents have responsibilities and obligations that they need to meet. Ensuring that you are handling what is yours to do can keep the situation as calm as possible. It also helps to keep things more stable for the children since they know both parents are taking care of them.
Forgiveness is given freely
Making mistakes is part of life, and no parent will be perfect. You have to be willing to forgive your ex when they make a mistake. Help to correct whatever came out of the mistake, if possible. You will soon find that this brings your children closer to both of you and enables them to see a functional parenting relationship.
You should include the important terms in the parenting plan. These give you an outline of what should happen throughout the child's life. Things like decision making and scheduling are the minimal points that should be included.