Getting divorced changes everyone’s lives. Yours, your ex-spouse’s and your kids’. And, if you and your ex decide to give co-parenting a try, you will have to navigate a new normal with all three parties.
In many cases, co-parenting it is a good option, particularly for your kids’ health and wellness. Co-parenting allows your kids to continue having a relationship with both parents and can benefit their mental and physical health in the long run.
However, co-parenting can be challenging and difficult to navigate. It takes serious effort.
Working together with your ex may be hard, especially right after a divorce. But co-parenting is often a positive tool that can benefit your children. Communicating, compromising and coordinating are three important parts of co-parenting and there are a few ways to make them easier including:
- Making requests instead of statements (i.e. “Can we try…?” instead of “We need to…”)
- Listening first
- Demonstrating restraint – Keep calm during disagreements and try not to overreact
- Keeping conversations kid-focused – conversations should be about your children and their needs, not yours
- Finding external stress relief – instead of arguing or fighting, find another outlet for stress and anger, like talking to a friend or participating in a hobby
- Commitment from both parties to meet/talk regularly
- Making decisions/parenting as a team – medical, educational and religious decisions as well as rules, discipline and schedule should be made together
- Resolving disagreements in a healthy way – compromise, flexibility and open conversation are key to resolving disagreements when it comes to your kids
These are just a few ways you can make your co-parenting experience easier and less complicated. Working together and remaining a team, even while divorced, is an important parenting tool you should use.
Divorce and co-parenting will be difficult for everyone, especially at the beginning. But remaining respectful and communicative can help everyone succeed and move forward.