When you got married, you didn’t plan to get divorced. When you had children with your then-spouse, you didn’t plan on raising them in two separate households. Unfortunately, it happened and here you are, learning how to manage this new life. While you weren’t prepared for any of it, one thing stands out: co-parenting isn’t easy.
Being on the same page as another person when it comes to decisions about how to raise children is challenging under the best of circumstances. When you and the other parent had a contentious divorce, where there is still real pain and hurt, co-parenting may seem impossible.
But here’s the thing: co-parenting doesn’t come naturally to anyone. It’s not a skill set that’s innate, but it’s one that can be learned. Here are a few tips on how to successfully co-parent.
While everyone knows it’s easier said than done, working together with your co-parent is imperative. There isn’t a way to successfully co-parent if you aren’t willing to work with the other person. For the sake of your children, putting aside differences in order to create a balanced, stable environment is required. This might not be a person you want to talk to, but you must. In order to move forward and for your children’s best interests, working together in a reasonable manner is the first step.
Along the lines of cooperation comes compromise. Perhaps you had planned on having the kids for the entire 4th of July week. When your ex reminds you of his annual family reunion that week, you’re disappointed and agitated. You had made plans. But you remember how important this family reunion is to him and his family. Compromising now lays the groundwork for reasonable requests later. By showing that you are willing to compromise, it can make future communication more cordial.
Make sure that when you’re with your kids, you aren’t saying anything negative about your ex. In order to have happy, secure kids, you want to foster good relationships with both parents. Maybe he isn’t your favorite person right now, but just make sure your kids don’t hear that from you.
It’s easy to want to be the fun parent, especially now that your time with them is limited. They ask to stay up late to watch a movie, and you want to say yes. But keeping things consistent for your children is what is best for them. Kids do well with routines, so making sure the rules and routines are consistent in both households will make for well-adjusted, children.
You’re a great parent, and you’d do anything for your children. Positive co-parenting may be one of the most important things you do for them.