Divorce is multi-faceted. You may have many reasons why you and your ex can no longer stay married. However, if you have children, you will have to work together with your ex to raise them post-divorce. Parents who are on agreeable terms with one another can try co-parenting as a way of raising their children after their divorce. The following are some tips for effective co-parenting and some pitfalls to avoid.
Communication is key
Co-parenting means you will have to keep your ex informed of your child’s activities and life on a consistent basis. This means having an open dialogue with your ex. If face-to-face discussions are not productive, you can still text, email or keep a notebook as means of communicating with your ex.
You also need to keep your ex updated on changes in your life that may affect current child custody arrangements. Do not rely on your child to provide this information to your ex. You and your ex should communicate these situations directly with each other.
Agree on house rules
You and your ex should agree on what rules the child will follow in both of your households. A child’s life is more stable when the rules are the same at each parent’s house. Try not to be the “fun” parent. You and your ex need to be a united front.
Also, do not undermine each other’s authority as a parent by allowing your child to skirt their responsibilities when they are in your care. A child can be confused if they are allowed to get away with things at one parent’s house but not the other.
Keep the tone positive
Avoid talking badly about your ex in your child’s presence. Doing so only hurts a child who loves both parents. Recognize that both you and your ex have good qualities as a parent. If you have a co-parenting issue with your ex, do not make accusations. Speaking from the “I” rather than the “you” can make these discussions more productive.
Remember your child’s needs come first
Ultimately, just as child custody arrangements are based on the best interests of the child, so should any co-parenting tactics. Children heal from divorce when their parents are cooperative and present a united front. Bickering and accusations can only hurt a child and are unproductive means of communication. Take the high road and work together with your ex as a co-parent.