Bringing The World Home To You

© 2023 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
91.5 Chapel Hill 88.9 Manteo 90.9 Rocky Mount 91.1 Welcome 91.9 Fayetteville 90.5 Buxton 94.1 Lumberton 99.9 Southern Pines 89.9 Chadbourn
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

The Village that Raises the Child: Stories of Co-Parenting Relationships

A photo of the sidewalk featuring the shadows of two adults on either side of a small child. The adults are holding the child's hands.
Image by towbar from Pixabay
Co-parenting can mean different things to different families.

Co-parenting looks different for every family. But at its core, co-parenting can encourage good communication and responsibility-sharing by putting focus on the common interest: the children.

What it means to “co-parent” depends on who you ask. For some, co-parenting means raising a child with an ex-partner, or assuming a parenting role in a current relationship for a child from a previous relationship. For others, it can mean caring for a child with a platonic partner while each parent has their own independent life. For still others, it means raising a child with multiple parents, no matter what their relationship status.

But all these examples have one thing in common: Parenting together with the common goal of meeting a child’s needs.

Omisade Burney-Scott steps in for host Anita Rao in this episode to share her personal story, joined by her co-parent Michael Scott. She also talks with Zena Sharman, a writer, LGBTQ+ health advocate and the author of the book “The Care We Dream Of”, about life with her three co-parents and three children.

And Trina Greene Brown, founder of Parenting for Liberation, joins the conversation to talk about the individual work that parents can do to build healthier co-parenting relationships and resources that are out there to support that work.

Thanks to Michelle Felder of Parenting Pathfinders and AJ Feeney-Ruiz for also contributing their thoughts on co-parenting.

Advice for Co-Parents, by Co-Parents

Strive for equity in your relationship, not strict equality

“The systems [want us to] try to figure out a way for it to be 50/50. And in reality, we have to honor where people arrive and what resources they have, and honor their contributions.” - Trina Greene Brown

Be open and honest with yourself and with your co-parents.

“Have a lot of conversation upfront about your dreams, your visions, your values, the logistical stuff — and also just be open to what unfolds. There's a big difference between the planning and the imagining, and then the experience of becoming a parent.” - Zena Sharman

Find gratitude in your relationships.

“Identify something … about the family you've created together that you're grateful for. Keeping these positive thoughts in mind can truly transform your experience as a co-parent.” - Michelle Felder

Acknowledge the challenges, but don’t let them stop you.

“It takes some work and some planning, but you can do it.” - AJ Feeney-Ruiz

Stay Connected
Kaia Findlay is the lead producer of Embodied, WUNC's weekly podcast and radio show about sex, relationships and health. Kaia first joined the WUNC team in 2020 as a producer for The State of Things.
Omisade Burney-Scott (she / her) is a Black southern 7th-generation native North Carolinian feminist, social justice advocate and creative with decades of experience in nonprofit leadership, philanthropy and social justice.