Co-parenting means that each parent commits to do his or her best to work with the other parent to raise the children to be the healthiest and most secure people they can be.
Co-parenting is not perfect, but studies show that the children of parents who work together in raising them are emotionally and psychologically better off than parents who do not, whether the parents are married to each other or not. While parents who commit to working together won't always agree on everything, they work to learn and develop skills that will enable them to manage any conflict that arises between for the best interest of their children. One of the ways this is done is right in the midst of the collaborative process – when done properly, collaborative divorce includes a mental health professional who serves as a communication coach. This communication coach helps the parties learn the skills that will help them co-parent in a healthy manner.
Without a commitment to co-parenting, parents often find themselves fighting against each other.
If one parent wants the child to be in baseball and the other parent wants the child to be in soccer, or one parent thinks the child needs a tutor and the other doesn't, that conflict often “bleeds over” into the life of the children, even if the parents do not want it to. Children are incredibly intuitive and can often pick-up on communication tones or body language from the parents when they are in conflict.
The parents who find themselves in these situations do not realize the long-lasting negative effects this will have on their children. Instead of the children being pulled apart by the continuing war zone their parents put them in, co-parents have learned (and continue to learn) how to work out compromises on issues regarding their children, whether it be day-to-day issues, like baseball or soccer, or more serious issues, like how to handle such things as their child's serious illness or criminal charge.
In healthy co-parenting the couple learns how to manage the conflicts that parents naturally have, and move forward to raise your children in the best way possible.