Perhaps you and your spouse are divorcing and you are in the process of reaching a custody arrangement. Now, you are wondering how best to co-parent with your future ex.
In our last post, we went over the definition of co-parenting, some exceptional cases where co-parenting is not a good option and some of the benefits that co-parenting can have for children. In this conclusion, we will discuss a few helpful tips that can make co-parenting with your ex run smoothly.
- Cope with your emotions in a healthy way
Divorce is often fraught with emotions like anger and resentment, but co-parenting doesn’t have to be. These emotions are normal and healthy, but they shouldn’t interfere with your children’s wellbeing. To cope with any lingering emotions, get these feelings out in a healthy way like talking to a therapist, venting to friends or writing in a diary.
- Keep the kids out of it
Too many couples are tempted to use children as go-betweens in their own spats. Don’t put your kids in the middle of a conflict. This will inevitably cause them to feel confused and stressed. Co-parenting is all about reminding your children that you and your spouse love them dearly, and that the divorce is not about them.
- Use good communication
No, communicating with your former spouse is not always easy. But successful co-parents must find a way to communicate civilly regarding their children. When speaking with your ex, try to remain calm, cordial and respectful. Use a neutral tone of voice, and take a few deep breaths if you feel your temper rising. If necessary, keep the conversations related solely to matters of parenting.
- Work as a team for the children’s sake
Perhaps the most necessary aspect of successful co-parenting for spouses to work as a team for the sake of their children. The most important thing is to aim for consistency when it comes to big issues like medical decisions, schooling and financial issues. Will you and your spouse necessarily agree on every parenting decision? No—and that’s okay. Understand that you are both different people who may have different parenting styles.
We hope that this series has been helpful to you in your attempt to co-parent. If issues should arise that are too complex or contentious to navigate on your own, you may also wish to seek the counsel of a skilled family law attorney.