No one sets out thinking they will raise their kids by co-parenting, but life happens. Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Sheree Zampino have been the faces of the co-parenting and blended family for over 2 decades now. More celebrity couples have joined the ranks including Neyo, wife Crystal Smith and mother of his two oldest children Monyetta Shaw, Swizz Beatz, Alicia Keys and ex-wife Mashonda, Martin Lawrence, ex-wife Pat Smith and new husband Emmitt Smith and second ex-wife Shamicka Lawrence to name a few. What these couples have shown us is that co-parenting can be done and doesn’t have to be as difficult as we are sometimes shown.
Statistics show that one in three Americans is now some form of step-parent, stepchild, step sibling or other member of a blended family. This is our new reality. Psychology Today lists some do’s and don’ts for co-parenting. Do’s include open dialogue with the co-parent and being on the same team as far as rules and behavioral guidelines. Kids will always look for loopholes and try to play parents against each other whether they are together or not so parents have to have that united front to combat that. The biggest don’ts from Psychology Today are not speaking negatively about the other parent to the child and not allowing your child to get away with things just because of guilt.
|Will Smith, wife Jada, Ex-wife Sharee, her former husband and the Kids|
I have been co-parenting for 8 years now and my biggest lesson has been staying true to myself. Will and Jada put a face on something I’ve always known I’d do if ever put in that position. I didn’t allow my core to change because of circumstance. My sons have been my biggest priority since the day they were born and I did not allow divorce to change that. I always made sure to do my part regardless of what was coming from the other side when feelings were still being sorted out. Because we live in different states, I send text messages of grades, calls from teachers, videos of plays on the football field, when they get drivers licences, first jobs, and any and every milestone of importance to their father. I involve him in discipline decisions. We have made sure that we are on the same page on our decision making. Our sons are 17 and almost 19 now and we are nowhere done with parenting, we will be their parents for as long as we are alive. We will just move into this new stage of parenting with them; there’s college, adulthood, relationships, and grandbabies in our future and we will have to navigate these new waters as co-parents.
Both Mashonda Tifrere (ex-wife of Swizz Beatz) and Monyetta Shaw have upcoming books on co-parenting releasing this Fall. Mashonda’s book is called Blend: The Secret to Co-Parenting and Creating a Balanced Family with a foreword from Alicia Keys and will be released on October 2nd. Monyetta Shaw’s book is called Keep It Classy: Co-Parenting Strategies for Unstoppable Moms and Devoted Dads with a foreword by Neyo and will be released this Fall. So you see, co-parenting is very possible if you have willing parties.
Do you co-parent? Did your parents co-parent?