California residents usually understand that co-parenting can be frustrating at times. Whether a family splits because of divorce or the parents were never married, the best parenting relationships are cooperative and focused on the children. Sometimes it is easier said than done, but adopting a few simple rules can make things flow much more smoothly.

Whether the parents are friends or completely unable to get along, the most important guideline to follow in parenting is remembering that the top priority in their ongoing relationship is the children. Maintaining a strict focus on the best interests of the children should be the guiding star of every parental decision. If both parties can agree to put the kids first, it goes a long way toward establishing a successful parenting relationship. Each should adopt a strict ‘no disparagement” policy regarding the other parent when in the presence of children. Furthermore, they should always keep the children out of disagreements even if the dispute involves the children.

Whenever tension arises with the other parent or the children, a parent should take some time to cool off before returning to the discussion. Even though parents often forget, they are constantly modeling behaviors for their children. Acting toward each other as they would want the kids to act is sound policy.

Maintaining flexibility whenever possible is prudent when dealing with the children or the other parent. Setting healthy boundaries with the other parent and the children is also important. Parents should not be afraid to tell the children ‘no” whenever it is deemed necessary. A corollary is maintaining consistency regarding rules at each residence. Finally, honest communication between parents and children is always important.

Whenever there are child custody arrangements, parents should remember the golden rule and be respectful of each other and the kids, even if the other parent is not abiding by the same guidelines. When there are difficult disputes or other problems, a lawyer may help mediate or submit modifications to the court.