Co-parenting can be challenging under the best circumstances. For the average couple, relationship drama can feel just as intense and have far-reaching implications on their ability to parent collaboratively.

“My number one recommendation is to always prioritize the child’s well-being,” MoAndra Johnson, MFT, explained to 21Ninety.

“Parents need to keep in mind that your child is observing, listening, and internalizing, regardless of their age. It’s crucial to showcase constructive conflict resolution and effective communication skills, serving as a model for your child. Demonstrate that respectful collaboration is attainable,” she continued. “Maintaining emotional well-being in the face of a challenging co-parenting dynamic requires self-care, coping strategies, and a proactive approach to managing stress.”

Johnson is a Sex and Relationship Therapist and founder of Sex On The Table (SOTT), LLC. She is a passionate advocate for healthy sexuality, positive relationships, and social justice. She spoke with 21Ninety offering advice on how to co-parent amid relationship drama, especially if the couples’ problems are constantly in the media.

Celebrity Couples Who Are Co-Parenting

Co-parenting demands compromise, communication, and respect. But what about when personal disputes are in the public eye? Celebrity relationships, often in the limelight, provide lessons on the challenges and possible solutions to co-parenting through tumultuous dynamics. With their lives under constant public scrutiny, famous couples face unique challenges and advantages when navigating co-parenting drama.

Johnson examined three celebrity couples: Keke Palmer and Darius Jackson, Nia Long and Ime Udoka, and Chrisean Rock and Blueface.

Keke Palmer and Darius Jackson

Photo by Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

Palmer and Jackson’s relationship drama unfurled when Jackson publicly shamed the singer for her outfit at an Usher concert.

“It’s the outfit tho…you a mom,” Jackson tweeted.

He continued to tweet about the incident, which fueled backlash. To many, it seemed like a clear case of trying to control or criticize a partner’s choices.

Palmer responded with a video of her singing to their son, Leo, and advertising shirts with the phrase “I’m A Motha.” Then she went on to star in Usher’s “Boyfriend” video. Shortly after, rumors circulated that Jackson had “moved on from the relationship,” which he later denied.

Given the dilemma, Palmer and Jackson will need to establish boundaries around public comments.

“Reestablishing trust and open lines of communication between co-parents after encountering issues involving boundary violations and communication breakdowns can be challenging but is essential for the well-being of the child. First and foremost I must say that I am a firm believer of sparking change through a conversation,” said Johnson.

Johnson continued, “Rebuilding trust and open communication will take effort from both co-parents, but the result is a healthier co-parenting relationship that benefits both you and your child. Remember it’s a journey; small steps can lead to significant positive changes over time.”

Nia Long and Ime Udoka

Photo Credit: Getty

Nia Long recently filed for custody of her 11-year-old son she shares with Ime Udoka following his publicized cheating scandal with a member of the Boston Celtics staff. According to the legal documents obtained by The Blast, the actress wants sole physical and legal custody of her child, Kez, and visitation granted to Udoka.

Long recently opened up about the affects of Udoka’s affair on their son.

“He still has moments where it’s not easy for him,” the actress told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think the most heartbreaking thing about all of this was seeing my son’s face when the Boston Celtics organization decided to make a very private situation public.”

Trust is crucial for any relationship to work. Co-parenting demands trust, not necessarily in each other as partners but as caretakers for their child. Since their break-up was in front of the world, Johnson shared how parents should address past relationship issues with their children if they are negatively impacted.

“Addressing past relationship issues with a child when they are affected and their perception of one or both parents is at stake requires sensitivity, open communication, and a child-centric approach. It’s important that you, tailor your explanation to the child’s age and understanding,” she said.

Johnson explained parents should use the appropriate language with their child without going into too many details or talking negatively about the other parent. Parents must acknowledge the child’s emotions and reassure them they are “not responsible for the situation.” And allow your child to ask questions.  

“Maintain routines and consistent parenting practices to provide stability during this time of change. Keep the lines of communication open and check in with your child periodically,” she added.

Chrisean Rock and Blueface

Chrisean Rock & Blueface
Photo Credit: Prince Williams/Getty Images

Chrisean Rock and Blueface’s relationship has been in the media for all the wrong reasons. Their on-and-off again relationship is intertwined with violence, crime, and constant social media spats. And the strong opinions of family members don’t help.

Earlier this year, Chrisean Rock revealed she was pregnant, which has sparked a never-ending dispute between her and Blueface. In the early stages of her pregnancy, the 26-year-old rapper publicly denied Rock and the baby. He shared he did not want to be tied down to her with a child. However, Chrisean Rock continuously returns to Blueface despite the emotional and verbal abuse.   

The young couple’s main focus should be creating a safe environment for their child. But their most significant hurdle will be navigating their emotions.

“Establishing a neutral and safe space for co-parents with a history of volatile on-and-off relationships is a delicate process, but it’s crucial for effective co-parenting and the child’s well-being,” Johnson stated. “[They should] set guidelines for communication, such as refraining from using aggressive language, staying calm, and avoiding interruptions.”

She advised that they should do their best to reduce the emotional triggers from the past, such as meeting in neutral, public space. Even limit their conversations “to prevent potential conflicts to escalate.”

In this situation, if one parent is being uncooperative or manipulative, then Johnson recommended “addressing the behavior calmly and directly.”

“Express your commitment to cooperation while setting boundaries. Limit emotional engagement, avoid engaging in power struggles or emotional confrontations. Keep your responses factual and focused on the child. Shield your child from any negative or manipulative conversations.”

And these recommendations don’t work for the couple, then she wants them to “consider adopting a parallel parenting approach.” Chrisean Rock and Blueface will interact as little as possible with each other while maintaining parenting duties.

This article has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.