Co-Parenting: What Not to Do
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As a former participant in the Co-Parenting for Resilience Program at Oklahoma State University, we are pleased to offer you this newsletter with tips to help you achieve the best for your child(ren).
What Not To Do

Divorce is stressful on everyone involved, including the children. In fact, parents’ actions can affect their children’s well-being. That is why it is important for parents to learn what behaviors to avoid.  Click below to see some of the common things co-parents should not do in front of their child and positive alternatives to those actions.

How well your child adjusts during a divorce depends on how you handle the circumstances. Sometimes the stress of a divorce can cause the most loving parents to act in ways that hurt their children. Have you caught yourself behaving in these ways recently?
  • Fighting with your co-parent in front of your child;
  • Complaining about your co-parent in front of your child;
  • Asking your child about the other parent to get information;
  • Excluding your co-parent from your child’s life;
  • Sharing too much information about your divorce with your child;
  • Being short tempered, irritable or generally grumpy when you are with your children;
  • Drinking more alcohol than you usually do or picking up smoking again.
These behaviors may be natural reactions to a stressful period in your life, but you can make the choice to respond differently for your child! When you are upset, your body prepares to either fight or run by pumping lots of chemicals like adrenaline into your blood stream. These chemicals make you emotional and can interfere with clear thinking. The best thing you can do when you are upset is to call a “time out.” That is, take a moment to calm down and allow the chemicals to flush out of your blood stream. Adrenaline typically runs its course in 20 minutes to 30 minutes. After you have cooled down, ask yourself, “Am I putting my child first?” and “What’s best for my child?” The answers to these questions are often not what you want to do. Remember when you attempt to hurt your co-parent by trying to get back at them, teach them a lesson or make them feel guilty, regardless of whether you are justified or not, you are hurting your child.

For a refresher of what not to do when co-parenting, check out this fact sheet: Tips for Working with an Uncooperative Ex: 10 Things You Should Not Do.

Need more help? Co-parenting is hard. We're here to help! Learn more about the Co-Parenting for Resilience Program, part of the Extension mission of Oklahoma State University's College of Human Sciences.
Copyright © 2021 Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service | Oklahoma State University, All rights reserved.

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