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7 Habits of Highly Successful Co-Parents

There are plenty of challenges that come with co-parenting but if you are in it to raise the best kids possible, there are a few things to be mindful of. (3 min 34 sec read)

Dave Chartier
A single co-parenting dad, a freelance writer and former syndicated dad blogger with work published in USA Today, Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.

There are plenty of challenges that come with co-parenting but if you are in it to raise the best kids possible, there are a few things to be mindful of.

1. Chores and being responsible:

We all have chores to do whether at home or at work. If the kids are doing them, you are. By doing chores, they’re part of the ‘collective’ team (family), learning how to clean up after themselves, be responsible and take care of their belongings ~including the house and yard and car, all something they may own and maintain when they become adults.

2. Social Learning:

esearchers from Pennsylvania State University and Duke University1 tracked more than 700 children from across the U.S. between kindergarten and age 25 and found a significant correlation between their social skills as kindergartners and their success as adults. These skills include taking social cues from peers, cooperating in a group setting, understanding feeling (sympathy/empathy) and problem resolution.

3. Master conflict resolution:

The conflict between parents prior to divorce also affects children negatively, while post-divorce conflict has a strong influence on children’s adjustment, according to Robert Hughes Jr., professor and head of the Department of Human and Community Development in the College of ACES at the University of Illinois and study review author2.

After divorce, when a father without custody has frequent contact with his kids and there is minimal conflict, children fare better. But when there is conflict, frequent visits from the father are related to poorer adjustment of children and has a cascading effect on them through their formidable years.

When kids witness mild to moderate conflict that involves support, compromise, and positive emotions at home, they learn better social skills, self-esteem, and emotional security, which can help parent-child relations and how well they do in school, E. Mark Cummings, a developmental psychologist at Notre Dame University3.

4. Close Relationship with Children:

Parents who are sensitive caregivers “respond to their child’s signals promptly and appropriately” and provide a secure mental and emotional base for children to explore the world. The implication is that investments in early parent-child relationships may result in long-term returns that accumulate across individuals’ lives. Children grow to be confident and adjusted regardless of the family configuration which includes a co-parenting household.

5. Cook with them:

oth boys and girls need this basic life skill more than ever. By setting a ritual of cooking with kids there are opportunities to teach them about basic cooking technique and clean up, nutrition and the importance of healthy balanced eating.

There are great opportunities to build wonderful memories with either mom or dad in the kitchen. One day they may not be living in your house and you want to be sure they can feed themselves and develop a healthy relationship with food.

6. Teach them Tenacity:

Tenacity takes you beyond where others give up. Tenacity, or simply “grit” is the tendency to sustain interest toward long-term goals. You can teach it and you can show it through your actions. Maybe you spent sometime training for a 5k fun run, share that experience with your kids. This kind of modeling carries weight as someone they look up too.

In 2013, University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth won a MacArthur “genius” grant for her uncovering of a powerful, success-driving personality trait called grit. Teach the tenacity and point out ‘gritty’ moments.

7. Embrace a Growth Mindset:

A “growth mindset,” on the other hand, thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of un-intelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.

The opposite of a growth mindset is a “fixed mindset”. It assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens that we can’t change in any meaningful way. Any success this person experiences is the affirmation of that inherent intelligence; striving for success and avoiding failure at all costs become a way of maintaining the sense of being smart or skilled.

At the core is a distinction in the way you assume your will affects your ability, and it has a powerful effect on kids. If kids are told that they aced a test because of their innate intelligence, that creates a “fixed” mindset. If they succeeded because of effort, that teaches a “growth” mindset.

  1. Early prosocial behavior good predictor of kids’ future | ScienceDaily
  2. The Effects of Divorce on Children, Robert Hughes, Jr. Ph.D
  3. What Happens to Children When Parents Fight, Developmental Science
  4. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth | Talks at Google