Good co-parenting requires both parties to have their children’s best interest in mind. It’s not just avoiding mistakes like those listed in the previous article, but also being committed to supporting your children and being unified as parents even though you are no longer together.

Dr. Phil has made some suggestions for good co-parenting:

  • Sit down with your ex and make an affirmative plan that sets aside any differences you may have and focus instead on meeting the needs of your children.
  • Agree with your ex that you absolutely won’t disparage each other to your children. Further, forbid your children to speak disrespectfully about the other parent, even though it may be music to your ears.
  • Negotiate and agree on how you can best handle such things as handing off the children for visitation, holidays, or events. In the interest of your children’s peace and security, it’s up to you to act maturely and without selfishness.
  • Agree on boundaries and behavioral guidelines for raising your children so that there’s consistency in their lives, regardless if which parent they’re with at any given time.
  • With regard to extended family members, negotiate and agree on the role they’ll play and the access they’ll be granted while your child is in each other’s charge. The extended family plays a very important role in the lives of children.
  • Communicate actively with your ex about all aspects of your child’s development. Both parents should know about any and all positive or negative events in the child’s developmental journey.
  • Recognize that children are prone to testing a situation and manipulating boundaries and guidelines, especially if there’s a chance to get something they may not ordinarily be able to obtain. It’s important that you and your ex compare notes before jumping to conclusions or condemning one another about what might have happened.
  • Although it may be emotionally painful, make sure that you and your ex keep each other informed about changes in your life circumstances so that the child is never, ever the primary source of information.
  • Commit to conducting yourself with emotional integrity. If you and your ex have agreed to a plan, stick to it. Say what you mean; mean what you say.

Although it may seem impossible to co-parent, with hard work it is possible. Remember, change takes time. If your ex doesn’t seem as committed to co-parenting at this point in time, continue to make positive strides for the benefit of your children.

Sometimes your ex will have to learn from your example, and may join in once they see the good co-parenting benefits your children. Hang in there and continue to be patient. Your efforts to make an incredible impact on your children.


Ken is the founder of Burton Attorneys at Law and finds the challenge of practicing law extremely rewarding. Although Ken has a broad assortment of experience ranging from bankruptcy to civil litigation to criminal law, Ken’s practice is tailored almost exclusively to the area of family law.

He chose to practice in the family law arena because of the positive and direct impact for good he saw in the lives of his clients.

Having twice been named one of Utah’s Legal Elite by Utah Business Magazine, Ken has a solid reputation as an effective advocate for his clients. He is actively involved in local and state bar associations, serves on various boards of directors and with volunteer organizations, and as a mentor for newly admitted attorneys.

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