According to Tanzania Demographic and Health survey (DHS) 2010, 25% of households are headed by single parent families, in which 19% are headed by single mothers and 6% are headed by single fathers. There is varied reason for this some of them are Divorce, Death of a spouse, pregnancy out of wedlock, imprisonment etc.

In cases where both parents are available but are not living together, co-parenting is key although it can be difficult. The key to successful co-parenting is to separate personal relationship from the co-parenting relationship. It may be helpful to start thinking of your relationship with your co-parent as a completely new one – one that is entirely about the well-being of your children, and not about either of you.

Here are some helpful guides to effective co-parenting

1. Develop a co-parenting Agreement

A co-parenting agreement is a document that can help to clarify your duty of care for your child. A typical Co-parenting agreement should address the following.

  1. Visitation Schedules – how often, when, where and who
  2. Education – which curriculum, which school, school fees payments etc
  3. Finances – Transparency about expenses and financial support decide who contributes what.
  4. Child health care – Decision on medical insurance, hospital and communication regarding the child medical issues.
  5. Holiday and special events – Decisions on how school holidays and other holidays will be spent
  6. Guideline for decision making – make important decisions together, such as gifts and discipline
  7. Dispute resolution – Disagreements are inevitable, but it is essential to resolve them amicably without involving your child. Decide how you will be resolving disputes and who will be mediating

2. Consistency and Routine

Create a consistent and stable routine for your child. Consistency in rules and schedules between households can provide a sense of security for your child

3. Flexibility and Compromise

Be willing to adapt to changes and compromises’ life circumstances can shift example loss of income or long illness etc. It is important to work together to accommodate these changes, ensuring they don’t disrupt your child’s well-being.

4. Shared Value and parenting philosophy;

I know this is a challenge to most marriage couples, I cannot imagine how difficult it might be in a co-parenting situation, but finding common ground regarding values and parenting philosophies will help maintain a cohesive approach to raising a child. If same rules apply to both households this will help a child become a better person.

5. Quality time with the child

Foster strong individual relationship with your child, while also maintaining a healthy co-parenting relationship. Avoid at all costs recruiting your child to your side against your co-parent, do not share your disappointments with your child always speak positively about your co-parent.

6. Have a ME time

When the child is not with you, you might feel a sense of loss, loneliness and disappointment. It might be useful to use this time to treat yourself to boost your well-being and mental health. Travel, spend a day in SPA, gift yourself, meet some friends etc.

7. Avoid to introduce your child to AUNTs and UNCLEs

A child need a special home, avoid to introduce your child to people in your life if it is not official, do not even let them come home, you better meet them somewhere else.

8. Parenting Styles

Normally the parenting styles differ between parents. It helps to try and accept the parenting style of the other person and where you have a major concern try and have a candid conversation about it and agree on a solution. I have seen parents bribing their children just to be liked more than the other parent; this can be detrimental to your child’s welfare and future.

9. Ensure your child is connected to the other parent

Some co-parent’s burn bridges between themselves and the co-parent, for a child to feel whole s/he needs both parents in his life. You need to ensure, as much as it can be painful sometime that your child is connected to the other parent. Please refrain from speaking ill of the other parent.

Your relationship may be over, but your family is not; acting in your child’s best interest is your most important priority. Ensure you always put your children’s needs ahead of your own by setting hurt and hunger against your co-parent aside. I know it is easier said than done, but it is worthwhile to try and have a good co-parenting relationship.

We would love to hear your comments.
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6 months ago

Mh…. That’s point number 7 I think it’s need more explanation.

Katanta Lazarus Simwanza
Katanta Lazarus Simwanza
6 months ago

This guide is very powerful

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