Cooperative co-parenting can be difficult but it is highly beneficial for children. Working together with your ex-spouse will give your children consistency, security and an understanding of problem solving. In the end it shows your kids that they are more important than the conflict that ended in your divorce. Consider the following tips for co-parenting after divorce.
Separate feelings from behavior
You might feel resentful or angry with your ex. Those feelings are perfectly normal, but they do not need to dictate your actions. More importantly, they should not take priority over your children. In order to co-parent you will need to separate those feelings from your behavior.
It helps to stay focused on your children and their needs. Instead of venting to your kids, take those feelings of anger to your best friend or a therapist. Managing those feelings will help facilitate better interactions with your ex. Your kids will appreciate less stressful communication between you both.
Communicate with a business-like mindset
Conversations with a quick-tempered ex can easily turn into an argument. What you thought would be an easy discussion could devolve into a bitter fight. Communicating with your ex in a business-like mindset can help prevent disputes. Keep a professional tone focused on respect and neutrality. Hopefully your ex will follow the lead.
Make requests instead of demands. Instead of saying, “get her homework done by six on Sunday,” say, “can you help her with homework so she can get it done by six on Sunday?” In return, listen to their questions or disagreements. It is normal to disagree with one another, but you do not need to fight over it. Keep the conversations focused on your children.
Work as a team
Your ex may feel like an opponent sometimes, but you will need to be a team to raise your child. Communicating and cooperating will make big decisions easier for everyone involved. Work together with an attorney to reach an agreement on major parenting decisions. Creating a co-parenting plan outside of court with help from an attorney can leave the decisions in your hands, rather than leaving it up to an impersonal court system. This plan can include decisions for medical issues, extra-curricular activities, religious activities and more.
Consistency is important for children, especially if they are living in two households. Work together to create a cohesive set of expectations and rules. This does not mean that you and your ex will agree on everything, but basic rules can be decided. You may agree on issues such as curfew, homework and off-limit activities for your child.