Co-Parenting: A New Model for Raising Children

Co-Parenting: A New Model for Raising Children
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

Co-parenting is a new family model where there are two co-parents who — without any sort of romantic or sexual relationship — come together to fulfill a basic but special life desire: to have a child. They both share responsibilities for the child’s parenting, education, and basic needs. They co-participate in a loving relationship with the child.

The idea may be shocking to some. Others may say that co-parenting isn’t much different than traditional parenting where the parents have a romantic partnership, especially marriage. However, we have reasons to question these traditional ways of thinking.

What is co-parenting?

In some ways, co-parenting has been around for a long time. For example, when a couple separates and start talking about legal custody, they become co-parents. They must raise their child together, but they no longer share any other links aside from their children.

Co-parenting is a new way to be mothers and fathers without having any other link besides the desire to raise a child and make that child happy.

On the other hand, there is more evidence the traditional model of family and parenthood has changed. We now have single-parent families, people who, sometimes by choice, decide to raise a child by themselves. We have people of the same sex that become parents through artificial insemination, adoption, or surrogates.

The newest model includes specialized co-parenting websites. Complete strangers connect, and through artificial insemination, will share the adventure of raising a child separately, but together. Making agreements, dividing tasks, time, and responsibilities equally in order to give the child the best life possible.

figures representing co-parenting

Co-parenting and the need to be parents

We know society has changed. However, sometimes more equality between the genders comes with new challenges. One of these is that many women are waiting longer to have children. So, by the time they feel personally and economically prepared to be mothers, some don’t have a partner.

Co-parenting puts them in contact with people who have that same desire. For example, a woman could contact another person through a specialized co-parenting website or center. Then she could have the opportunity to meet, for example, a homosexual couple who also wishes to have a child.

After getting to know them and finding common ground, they can see if they have values, dreams, and faith in common. If so, they may go forward and become a family, giving a new shape to the family paradigm.


A parent and a baby holding hands.

Co-parenting goals

The quality of the relationship between the parents is what guarantees a child’s well-being in all aspects. And this is something co-parents care about. Often, a couple’s separation or divorce means fighting that isn’t good for anyone, let alone the child and their mental and emotional health.

If parents come together with the single goal of having a child and raising him or her, it creates a special relationship. It is based on friendship, on the shared idea of always doing the best for the child.

Many will say that in today’s world we have all kinds of new ideas, but they aren’t all good. However, having a child, bringing a life into this world and becoming responsible for it, is not just a whim, it’s an integral part of life for many people. That’s why we look for beneficial, but also safe, ways to meet our ultimate objective: the child’s welfare.

Principles of healthy co-parenting

An ideal co-parenting relationship has the following characteristics:

  • Tacit and legal agreements between both parents.
  • A good relationship between co-parents. High levels of cooperation and communication.
  • Clarity on who is responsible for what in each stage of the child’s life, each need, problem, etc.
  • A good attitude when coming to agreements and resolving problems. Co-parents seeing each other as responsible and trustworthy people.
  • Agreements about how to raise and educate the child.
  • Geographical proximity.
  • Harmony in the family circle. The child feeling understood and like they can go to either parent if they need something.
  • The number one priority being the child, above all else.
child being raised by co-parenting

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.