Co-Parenting For Never Married Parents
Copyright by Merlene Bishop
If you had a child with someone you were not married to, the easiest thing to do in the situation would be to walk away from that person and never look back. However, doing so would be very damaging to the child and children need two parents regardless of the circumstances of their birth. Maintaining contact with your child will be touchy at times, since you and the other parent no longer have a relationship.
Additionally, it may be awkward if you are married. Being married creates it's own challenges regarding keeping the child in your life. Your spouse may not be supportive or may feel jealous of the child's parent. If this is the case, try to convey that they have an interest in supporting your child's relationship which is your personal well-being and peace of mind that
comes from being a loving parent to him or her.
Regarding your relationship with the child's parent, try to cooperate even when or if you have to restrain yourself while developing "bloody tongue disease" - biting your tongue. Conflict between the two of you can be damaging to the child, so cooperation is in the best interest of all concerned. What your children need is a predictable relationship with both parents.
The same rules that apply to divorced parents apply to never married parents. The following is a list of suggestions:
*Do not argue in front of the child. If conflict arises, walk away and talk later
by phone or email.
* Realize that your love for your children is the best guide to co-parenting.
*Reassure your child that you love them and will be there for them when they are growing up.
*Talk with the other parent about your goals for the child and ways that you can
cooperate on that.
*Don't let your child play you off against each other. Respect the other parent's opinion when you disagree.
*Whatever your feelings towards the other parent, be willing to set them aside
when you see your child.
Children of never married parents are more vulnerable to substance abuse, identity problems, school dropout and suicide. Considering this never married parents have a significant incentive. Your child's future is at stake and she/he will thank you someday for staying
involved in their life.