Whether you are thinking of divorce, are in the midst of a divorce or are on the other side of a divorce, co-parenting is an essential skill that will benefit you and your children. You may despise your ex, but having children together usually means that your ex will be in your life for the foreseeable future. So grin and bear it, with the help of some tips that will make your life of effective co-parenting as smooth as possible.
Communication is key. I cannot stress this enough. Whether it is over text or by phone, communicate and do not leave the other parent guessing. Most importantly, do not use your children as messengers to get information across from one parent to the other. This method will only cause unnecessary stress to the children, who may already be anxious with their new situations.
Work as a team. Make sure that your children know that you are both there to work as a team and not against each other. You do not want your child thinking that if one parent says “no,” the child can go to the other parent for the “yes.”
Just like you pick your battles when it comes to your children, do the same with your ex. Effective co-parenting means picking the battles that really matter; don’t argue just to be spiteful.
Respect the time that your child has with the other parent. Do not try to interfere with and monopolize their time with a barrage or abundance of phone calls, facetime, etc.
Do not speak negatively about the other parent in front of the children. Your child loves both parents and in effect, when you are talking badly about one parent, your child is hearing that a part of him/her must be bad too. Your children are a product of both of you. Don’t forget that.
Think about one positive parenting skill that your ex may have and try to focus on that instead of the negative.
Lastly, treat your ex the way that you want to be treated. Just as this should be true with how you treat everyone around you, your co-parenting ex should be no exception – no matter your true feelings. Ultimately, it is about what is best for your children.