Rarely in the history of co-parenting has it been an easy task. It can be even more difficult if you have been through a difficult breakup and your relationship with your co-parent is contentious. You may have concerns about your co-parents ability to parent, you may feel stressed about your financial situation, exhausted by the conflict of a breakup, and unable to let go of all the resentment that has built up over the years. However, amicable co-parenting will provide your children with security, stability, and ultimately, a close relationship with both of their parents. That’s what they need. So, for the sake of the children’s well-being, you can work to overcome the challenges that you face and develop a successful co-parenting relationship. This is how you can do it.
Dealing With Your Children
- Show your children empathy (and your ex, too). They are going through a difficult time, too. They are bound to miss the parent who is not there and you shouldn’t make them feel guilty about voicing that. Let them talk about their feelings and assure them that you both love them.
- Respect the time they have with your co-parent, don’t interfere. Agree times with your ex when you can contact them. You wouldn’t like it if they interfered with you so, don’t do it to them.
- Encourage your children to call, write, text, and email your co-parent. Don’t forget birthdays and special occasions. Your children will be happier when you let them express their feelings openly.
Dealing With Your Co-Parent
- It’s important that you have a schedule and that you stick to it, especially if you have a custody arrangement through the court. However, you can be flexible. For example, if it’s your day, but your co-parent has tickets to a special event and you have no plans, why not let them go? Don’t think about your day, think about whether your children will enjoy what the other parent is suggesting. You never know when you will need the same in return.
- Even married couples disagree on how to parent their children. So, discuss the rules you share in common and set them in both homes. Remember, though, that you will deal with things differently than your co-parent. That’s okay. You’d do the same if you were still together. You are different people, you have different parenting styles.
- Don’t use your children as the middle man. Communicate with your co-parent directly. Otherwise, you are expressing negative feelings to your children and making them carry messages between you, which can go wrong. If your children come home with a message from your co-parent, don’t take it out on them. Call your co-parent privately to discuss the issue.
- There is a reason that you broke up, but you still have children together and that means you are tied together forever. How they live their life is none of your business. As long as it doesn’t harm your children, it’s nothing to do with you.
- Share accomplishments and good grades with your co-parent. Let your children know you’re letting the other parent into their daily lives and ask them to do the same for you. That means sharing photos of adventures, too. Ultimately, it’s all about the kids.