Co-parenting 101: Be a Parent, Not a Friend

Written by Jonathan Breeden

April 13, 2021

Co-parenting after divorce or separation is about being a parent. It’s not about becoming your child’s friend. Your children did not have a say in your decision. And they can’t do anything about what has happened. They are essentially along for the ride.

As difficult as your divorce, breakup, or separation may be for you, it is likely just as hard – if not more so – for your child. Over our more than 20 years of handling divorce and separation cases across North Carolina, we’ve seen these issues arise many times – usually at the detriment of the children.

For help reaching a custody agreement that is fair to you and your child, reach out to the North Carolina child custody lawyers at the Breeden Law Office today. Call (919) 661-4970 or contact us online.

Here are some ways parents can keep being the solid parental figures they need to be and not turn their children into therapists or close friends.

Parenting After Divorce: What Not To Do

Parenting is rarely easy. It becomes downright hard in the wake of a separation or divorce. But you can avoid some of the struggles if you keep the following tips in mind.

Don’t Treat Your Child Like Your Therapist

This is a tough time for you. You’ve just been through a breakup or divorce. You probably need someone to talk to.

You should talk to someone about your problems, but not your child. Do not go to your children with your concerns, your stress, or your anxiety. Do not share the stress of figuring out where you will live or the new custodial schedule with your child.

Yes, you should seek out a therapist if you think you need one. But make sure you shield your child from any extra stress. This ordeal has already been harrowing enough.

Don’t Treat Them Like A Friend

During the adjustment period between your old life with your spouse and your new one, you may want to lean on your friends. You will need someone to discuss your issues with and help you get your mind off of things.

That’s what friends are for; it’s not what children are for. Your child needs you to be their parent – not their friend.

Even if your ex is in a new relationship with someone toxic and it’s stressing you out, save that stress to discuss with a close adult friend – not your child. None of this is the children’s problem. None of this is the children’s fault. And there’s nothing they’re going to be able to do to help you get through it.

Don’t Badmouth Your Ex

The temptation to spout off about your ex is a lot to handle – especially if the two of you have bad blood. The idea of saying some of your negative feelings about your ex out loud may sound appealing. But it’s not something you should do in front of your child.

The two most influential people in the world to your child are you and their other parent. When you badmouth the other parent or allow others to do so – whether true or not – you are cutting that child in half. It’s just like you are criticizing that child. Badmouthing the other parent deeply hurts your child forever. It’s not worth it.

Contact the Breeden Law Office for Help

You need your friends and your therapist. Your child is still a child, and they should not be forced into adult roles just to make separating parents feel better. That’s not good for the child. And, ultimately, it doesn’t help you, either.

What does help is reaching a fair and thorough child custody agreement. For help doing that, reach out to the team at the Breeden Law Office.

Give our North Carolina law firm a call at (919) 661-4970 or fill out our online contact form.


Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden