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Co-parenting can be a challenging process. However, if you and your child’s other parent have shared custody or substantial visitation arrangements, you will both be required to work together frequently in the child’s best interest. This task can become even more complicated when the additional family players otherwise known as step parents comprise part of the parenting picture.

Your child’s step parent may be kind or nasty, cooperative or destructive, condescending or bashful. However, unless that individual is abusive or otherwise behaves in a way that you must shield your child from interacting with him or her, communicating effectively with your child’s step parent will be critical to investing in your child’s best interests.

Just as you may need to with your co-parent, you may need to interact with your child’s step parent as your would a business associate. If your business as a parent is to advocate and act upon your child’s best interest, you may serve that purpose best by interacting with your child’s step parent as another administrator in that company. This approach helps to keep strong emotions out of the situation and interactions professional, courteous and to the point.

Of course, if your co-parent marries a lovely person and your relationship can be more social than this approach allows for, please approach it as you see fit. But if the relationship is strained in any way, remaining calm, professional and keeping your child’s best interest in the forefront of your mind will help to focus your interactions. For your own sanity and your child’s sanity, it is critical that you learn to interact with his or her step parent effectively.

Source: Huffington Post, “Why You Should Be Nice To The Step Parent,” Marina Sbrochi, Apr. 26, 2013

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