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6 Tips on Being the Best Co-parenting Dad You Can Be

July 20, 2023
Advice, Co-Parenting
Tips on Being the Best Co-parenting Dad You Can Be

After a divorce, quality time with the kids is critical bonding and adjustment time for both fathers and children. Often, dads split custody with their ex-spouse and see their kids only sometimes during a week. And non-custodial fathers spend even fewer hours with their kids than their ex does.

Dads, it’s essential that when your custody time rolls around, that you and your kids are fully present and enjoying each other, no matter how long or short your time together is – quality over quantity. Your emotional presence and connections create stronger bonds between you and your children, resulting in a healthier and happier relationship. And it’s the best prescription for raising well-adjusted children. Below are the tips for being the best dad you can be.

Communicate Respectfully

You may not get along with your ex or see eye to eye on many things. It’s okay to disagree. It’s not okay to let those disagreements fester into hostilities.

Maintaining respectful and business-like communication, despite how you and your co-parent feel about each other, is crucial for effective co-parenting. Polite mannerisms can even rub off on your former spouse, causing them to treat you better and making your life much easier.

The key to civil conversations is communicating routinely and staying concise and relevant. Keep verbal and written discussions focused on raising healthy, well-adjusted kids, and don’t have a bone to pick with your co-parent at every opportunity. If you and your co-parent have trouble staying in contact regularly, schedule time to talk. If speaking one-on-one over the phone or face-to-face isn’t possible at this juncture in your “uncoupling,” write it out (which therapists recommend).

Use a shared parenting app to help you establish and maintain respectful, business-like correspondence. One with a tone meter can assist you with writing neutral and polite messages. What’s even more beneficial is that most apps keep unalterable records of your communication.

When disagreements arise (and it’s a good guarantee they will), keep your arguments factual (i.e., “You were 30 minutes late picking little Johnny up on Wednesday.”) and not over the top or emotional (i.e., “You always forget.”). Take your debates to your co-parent app to check tones and record conversations. Keep the conflicts between you and your ex private to avoid putting your kids in the middle. You can calmly state your frustration to children but avoid badmouthing your co-parent.

Be Present

Stay as focused and engaged as possible while you’re with your children. Of course, you’ll have ongoing parenting chores but try to minimize those to maximize your quality time together if you aren’t the primary caregiver.

Co-parenting can add extra duties to your to-do list, often in the form of documentation. A shared parenting app for joint custody and child support tasks can save you time in everything from arranging custody schedules and notes to tracking bills and payments. The result is more time to focus on your children.

Work Through Emotions

Understandably, a divorce can bring about some resentful or hostile emotions. However, dealing with those big feelings ineffectively can lead to poor communication and quality time with your children. A mental health therapist, therapy class, or app can help you work through your emotions better for improved decision-making and communicating.

Keep Spending in Check

“Retail therapy” is buying stuff to fix a poor mood. The emotionally taxing process of a divorce can cause a person to overspend at a time when they should be pinching pennies. Things like a new car, some elective minor (or major) cosmetic procedures, and vacations must wait if they aren’t absolutely necessary.

Lean into a “treat yo-self” mentality every now and again by rewarding yourself in inexpensive ways for achieving goals. Alternatively, learn to appreciate the free things in life, like a scenic trail hike, that’s good for the body, mind, and soul.

Be a Good Leader

Think of any current or former boss, teacher, or world leader you admire. Chances are, they had a few things in common, such as maintaining a cool head under pressure, being trustworthy, and ruling with compassion.

The mission: strive to be like those leaders. Model the behavior you wish to see in a good leader and your children.

Yes, you’re likely dealing with some tough things, but don’t let negative emotions interfere with quality time with your kiddos. Don’t let them bear the brunt of all you have going on.

Be consistent in your words and deeds so your kids learn they can depend on you. Use an app to track your many different scheduling needs so you can be the trustworthy parent your kids need.

Quality Over Quantity

As a pleasant-to-be-around, dependable dad, you’ll make the moments count regardless of how much time you spend with your children. Use a co-parenting app to help you keep track of the mundane duties of co-parenting, like schedules and record-keeping, so that time with your kids is truly quality time.


Following a divorce, fathers must prioritize quality time with their children, focusing on emotional presence and connections. Dads often share custody with their ex-spouses, leading to limited time. Focusing on quality over quantity, this approach fosters stronger bonds and contributes to a healthier, happier relationship, making it the optimal strategy for raising well-adjusted children.

6 Tips to Be the Best Co- parenting Dad Infographic


6 Tips on Being the Best Co-parenting Dad You Can Be

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