Many parents commit to co-parenting after divorce. After all, several studies in recent years have reported that children benefit from maintaining relationships with both of their parents.
However, co-parenting is often a harder job than it sounds, even if parents agreed to divorce. They might not agree on a critical decision in their child’s life, and they may even try to compete with each other for the child’s affections. This is more common than many parents think, and it can undermine any efforts to co-parent and start the family’s new chapter post-divorce.
Competitive co-parenting can take many forms
Competition between co-parents is quite common. And it could involve any sort of competitive action at many levels, including:
- Not enforcing rules to seem like the fun parent
- Buying expensive gifts or toys for kids to outdo the other parent
- Using the other parent’s mistakes against them
- Trying to fulfill all the parenting responsibilities to push out the other parent
Often, this competition is rooted in the parent’s emotions. They might feel guilty for putting the child through divorce, or they might resent their ex-spouse for the divorce. There are many reasons that parents might engage in this competition that are unique to their circumstances.
However, regardless of the reason, competitive co-parenting is detrimental to the whole family.
Address competition now to avoid it later
Co-parenting successfully takes work, time and understanding on the sides of both parents. And competition only manages to:
- Reduce cooperation and collaboration between parents; and
- Prevent parents from meeting the child’s needs.
That is why it is critical for Kentucky individuals to proactively discuss strategies to prevent competition before it happens or mitigate signs of competition now. Then, they can ensure they protect their children and the family as they move forward.