What is co-parenting?

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It’s one of those things parents are proud to teach their kids, but mostly afraid to talk about.

I remember our pediatrician telling us, “You can’t avoid it. Kids are going to figure out soon that you are not their ‘half-siblings’, but their ‘real’ parents. So take that out of your kid’s vocabulary right away!”

I know that I did take that advice to heart because I am quite positive our son knows that I am his real mom. I mean, it is a pretty common phrase and usually used by our kids to refer to their “real” dad, which is not my husband, but me.

My husband has always referred to himself as my son’s dad, so he says co-parenting isn’t a real thing. It is up to the other parent to “co-parent” and to stop co-parenting whenever they feel like they have.

What’s co-parenting?

Well, if it’s not something your child is going to be saying, then it’s not co-parenting. You may also hear parents call it step-parenting, blended-family parenting, co-residential parenting, or something else, but co-parenting is generally the most popular label for family arrangements that involve parents, child, and other family members.

What’s co-parenting with your children’s biological father?

Co-parenting with the child’s biological father is also referred to as “shared parenting”. It’s the arrangement you create when your child’s biological father co-parents with you (also referred to as co-parenting).

Parenting in the past with your ex

The other option is parenting as if you weren’t divorced. Parenting without the term co-parenting may be called shared parenting, but it’s not necessarily the same as shared parenting.

What’s co-parenting with your kids’ biological mother?

Co-parenting with your kids’ biological mother, though not as common as co-parenting with the biological father, is a super easy parenting arrangement to make, especially if you have children who are growing up with their biological mother.

You and their biological mother just agree that you are going to both take care of your children for at least the next five years. If you are still together, you could decide to co-parent for a longer period of time, but only you and the biological mother are responsible for your children.

Some families take this to the next level and make a verbal agreement between the biological mother and stepmother, which is the same as co-parenting. Parents often take this co-parenting arrangement to the next level by sharing physical custody, but only if they are still living together.

The only reason this is rare is because if you have a situation where your kids’ biological mother and stepmother have divorced, you have no legal rights whatsoever and cannot legally share physical custody with the biological mother.

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