Separation from your ex-partner can unfortunately bring out the worst in both of you. In fact, they may be the last person on earth you want to speak to. But, the reality is you have children to care for.
After a split, it can be downright emotionally and physically exhausting to work out an amicable parenting plan. Making shared decisions or simply interacting with your ex at all may seem like an impossible feat. However, it is possible to put your differences aside and create a co-parenting plan that works for the benefit of your children.
The idea is to turn your relationship with your ex into a completely new one - a relationship that is about your children, rather than either of you.
With these co-parenting tips, you and your ex can both play an active role in your children’s lives and give them the stability and security they need to thrive.
Here Are 4 Tips For A Successful Co-parenting Relationship:
1.Take Responsibility For Your Emotions
After separation, so many emotions - anger, resentment, or guilt - become unsurfaced. Letting your own strong feelings take a backseat to the needs of your children may be the most difficult, yet crucial aspect of your new co-parenting relationship. Separating your feelings from your behaviors is admittedly much easier said than done. It is absolutely okay to feel hurt and angry, but your feelings do not have to guide your behavior. Instead, allow what is best for your children’s well-being to motivate your actions.
It is also important not to push your own hurt feelings on your child. Doing so may make them feel burdened or stressed. Even if you never lose these strong feelings, you must be able to compartmentalize them and resolve issues with your ex without involving your children.
Your personal self-care and self love routine will be vital to processing your emotions and allowing you to peacefully move forward in life.
2.Keep Communication Strictly About The Children
Peaceful and purposeful communication is key in establishing a healthy relationship with your co-parent. Make your children's well-being the focus of each discussion. Before you do or say anything, think about what consequence it will have on your child. It is important to never let a conversation with your ex digress into a topic that does not prioritize the needs of your child.
Just as communicating your thoughts is important, it is equally important to listen to your ex’s. Cooperative communication begins with active listening. Even if you do not agree with what they say, you will want to be able to express that you have understood things from their point of view. Keep in mind that communicating with your ex will be necessary until your child becomes an adult. Setting forth a plan to communicate early will show your children that their needs come first. We typically recommend a weekly email to discuss all non-emergency co-parenting issues or child concerns that may need to be resolved.
3. Work As A Team
Co-parenting involves innumerable decisions that you will have to make with your ex. If you and your ex commit to working as a team, raising your children will be much easier on everyone. Major decisions such as medical needs, education, and financial arrangements should be made by both you and your ex. Being open and honest about these issues is extremely important to both your co-parenting relationship and your children’s well-being.
When disagreements with your ex inevitably arise, respect and compromise are your best assets. This means being considerate, flexible about your schedule, and taking their input seriously. If you disagree about a major decision such as a medical procedure or choice of school for your children, it makes sense to see the discussion all the way through. For smaller decisions such as bedtimes, it may be better to compromise and let it go. Remember that there are no winners and losers in a co-parenting relationship. Both you and your ex are working towards the same goal - giving your children the best possible care.
And, if you and your ex can’t come to a mutual agreement about the welfare of your children, then feel free to schedule a co-parenting consultation with us and we can help assist in doing what is best for the children.
5. Make Transitions Easier
The move from one household to the other, no matter how frequent, can be a very difficult task for children. Although transitions are certain, there are many ways for you and your ex to make it easier. Giving children consistency in their schedules, discipline, and boundaries can go a long way in helping them adjust to having two homes. These do not have to be exactly the same, but establishing general consistent guidelines avoids confusion for your children as they go back and forth between households.
When your child leaves your house, try your best to stay positive. Help them expect the change, pack their bags, and deliver them to your ex’s house on time. To help them adjust when they return to your house, establish a routine. Children work well on schedules. If they know what to expect, they will be more likely to adjust to these transitions without feeling overwhelmed.
It may be frustrating at times, but cooperating with your ex will show your children that you are a united front with their best interest in mind which is essential to their overall psychological development. The better role model you are to your children, the happier they will be.