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Positive Co-Parenting – Part 2

Posted: 04-02-2021

Following on from my earlier blog Positive Co-Parenting – Part 1, below are my top 10 tips on positive co-parenting:


  1. Discuss and put in place a Parenting Plan setting out the arrangements for the children. CAFCASS have a draft Parenting Plan on their website and some very handy advice on how to agree and complete it.
  2. Learn how to manage conflict in your relationship after separation. It is inevitable that both parents will not agree on all aspects of parenting the children.  It is therefore necessary to work out how conflict in this new separated parental relationship will be managed.
  3. Ensure that discussions take place away from the home and in a public place so that there is less likelihood of the children overhearing or emotions spiralling out of control. Consider having a friend or family member who can be neutral and child centred to liaise between both parents. This person may be used to pass on messages for the other parent for a temporary period of time when emotions are high or they may be present during any important discussions.
  4. Put your emotions aside and deal with the issues. Try and treat discussions regarding the children as business discussions. Perhaps set an agenda, so that everyone knows what will be discussed. Agree not to discuss the breakdown of the relationship, or the finances. If you feel yourself getting emotional, take time out to calm down.
  5. Deal with your own emotions first.  Recognise that the breakdown of the relationship and the things that the other parent does and says will inevitably upset you. Ensure that you have a good outlet for these emotions. Talk to a counsellor, or friends and family, join a group. Do not discuss these issues with the children, or you will risk harming them and making them grow up too quickly.
  6. Do not take out your emotions out on the other parent or on the child. Letting out your anger on the other parent, no matter how justified, will not help at all with co-parenting.  Find an alternative outlet. Understand that children will inevitably have the traits, looks, opinions and mannerisms of both their parents.  This is not their fault and they should not be berated for ‘sounding’ or ‘acting’ like the other parent.
  7. Learn how to communicate effectively with each other. Listen to the other parent. Allow them time to speak. Do not interrupt. Stay calm. Use a talking stick if necessary! Consider writing down all of the points you want to say before any discussions take place, then you will not worry whether you have forgotten something. The list will also help you keep on track. State your opinion, needs and ideas as clearly and precisely as possible. Do not just phone (or text/email) and expect the other parent to drop everything and talk through an issue with you. Agree a time to discuss your children when you both have time to fully deal with the issue.
  8. Keep the other parent informed.  Let each other know about medical appointments, accidents, concerns, schooling issues. If you are going to be late or need to cancel agreed arrangements, let the other parent know as soon as possible and ideally in advance. Be patient as they are the ones trying to support your children and explain why the arrangements have been changed. For the other parent be understanding – we all have things happen in our lives that mean arrangements need to be changed.
  9. Learn to empathise with the other parent – They are not your enemy when it comes to the arrangements for the children. Be respectful of each other and think of how you would want to be treated if in the other parents shoes. Try and see things from their perspective.
  10. Remember it is the child’s right to have contact with both of their parents, not the parents right to see their child. Parents have equal rights and responsibilities towards their children and no parent has more right over the other simply because they have historically dealt with more than 50% of the parenting.  By denying contact with the other parent, you are hurting your children. They have a right to continue to have a good relationship with both parents and their wider family members.

Sousa Law are specialist Family Solicitors in Southampton. Should you be struggling with making child arrangements, Sousa Law can help you work towards co-parenting and to ensure that suitable arrangements are put in place through mediation, collaborative law, Arbitration, or if necessary, through the Court process. Contact us on 02380 713060 or by email

By Nicole Biggs and Catherine Sousa