Victoria Hinton co-parents her two sons Isaac, seven, and Arthur, five, with her ex partner Dave. The pair have managed to find a set up that works for them and their sons, and good communication is at the heart of it.
I am a mum of two boys, Arthur, five and Isaac, seven. I want to share my story of how my ex Dave and I successfully co-parent in the hope that it will encourage and help others in a similar situation.
My own childhood experience was toxic, but despite this I feel like I have the tools to ensure our children don’t experience any of the challenges I faced. I know what kind of parent I don’t want to be to my children. When both parents are on the same page about raising children together while being apart, it’s much easier to protect them from conflict.
People often ask me what successful co-parenting looks like. My answer is that communication and understanding each play a big part. We need to remember that children mirror their parents. It reflects in their behaviour if we are committed to remaining friends as we parent our children. Dave and I often send each other photos of what the kids have been up to or something they saw and want to share with the other parent. It’s vital that there are no restrictions and both of us are available to them day and night if needed.
Children mirror their parents. It reflects in their behaviour if we are committed to remaining friends as we parent our children.
Our children’s emotional and mental development is crucial. With us both present, Dave and I can nourish them in different ways. Our current arrangement is that Dave has the boys during the school week, and I have them at the weekends with some flexibility in picking them up from school. Having holidays together is a massive part of our family life. We have always been keen on adventures and have incorporated “unexpected Saturdays” into our family time. Dave will plan something, and we all jump into the car to a destination unknown.
We have just returned from a family holiday in Nepal. Dave had been planning this trip for himself and the boys, so it was really lovely to be able to come along too. Nepal was an amazing experience for us all. We have so many adventures and memories to cherish forever, and the boys massively benefitted by getting enough attention from both of us.
The only challenge we’ve faced since separating was when Dave introduced the boys into his new relationship. Once I observed the kids behaviour over time and that nothing majorly had changed, I felt assured that they were still their little happy selves. I dropped my guard because I knew that it was a safe environment for them, and Dave was making sure the boys were still a priority.
We chose to have children. With that choice comes the responsibility to ensure they get all they need for their development into beautiful, smart, nourished, healthy human beings.
I think it’s a big thing for the children to see the communication and understanding between my ex and I.
We can’t do everything right and there will be mistakes. But I think it’s a big thing for the children to see the communication and understanding between Dave and I and our ability to still be there for each other as parents and friends. It gives children the stability, safety and understanding that all is good, even if they have two homes.
Family breakdown and relationship issues are the leading causes behind Fegans school counselling referrals, based on approximately 450 sessions per week. Parents seeking resources and advice on separation and divorce can go to www.fegans.org.uk and access a free course for separated parents. Fathers can also access support through DAD.info, Fegans’ advice and support hub for 40,000 fathers in the UK, providing peer support and practical resources.