Ultimate Guide to Healthy Co-parenting

Children thrive on structure and consistency, so come together as a parenting team. See more parenting pictures.
Peter Dazeley/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

No one ever said that parenting is easy -- even when everyone is nestled happily under one roof. And a separation or divorce can lead to some tough decisions about how to move forward in the child-rearing department. One common compromise is to establish two households where children can be nurtured by each parent separately.

This sounds pretty good in theory, but the reality is single parents are often required to compromise, regroup and rethink their definitions of family in order to develop healthy co-parenting strategies. The process can be complicated and painful when it doesn't work well. But when it does work, healthy co-parenting can be an effective and satisfying way to give children a solid foundation of love, learning, culture and caring from both single parents.

When you throw together two households, differing parenting styles, financial issues and lingering interpersonal hostilities, you end up with the wacky, frustrating and challenging world of co-parenting. Think of it as single parenting with benefits, or single parenting with limitations. Both perspectives will be true at one time or another, but neither is the only truth of what is inevitably a complicated situation that takes planning, finesse, diplomacy and patience. A generous helping of grace, especially under pressure, couldn't hurt either.

All parents want to build healthy home environments to help their children grow into well-adjusted adults. You can view parenting in tandem with an ex as an advantage or a liability. Either way, checking out some single parenting articles, co-parenting resources and single parenting tips wouldn't hurt. The more you understand about your rights and responsibilities, the better off you'll be.