Raising a child is hard work; doing it with your former spouse is a challenge on another level. You don’t have to be best friends with your ex after a divorce, but it is crucial to become a collaborative team for the sake of your child. Oftentimes, that’s easier said than done. To help you navigate co-parenting, we’re sharing our top tips to making it easier for you:
1. Collaborate and work as a team
Co-parenting won’t be smooth sailing. Disagreements will arise, and when they do, it’s best to remember that you’re working as a team. Remember that the foundation of your relationship is the best interest of your child, something that should be kept at the forefront for both of you.
2. Don’t put your child in the middle of your conflict
Going along with the first tip, when there is contention, it’s best not to involve your child. Avoid bad-mouthing your ex in front of your kids or fighting in front of them. This can skew your child’s views of both of you and cause deeper-rooted issues. Studies have shown that frequent parental conflict can have long-lasting adverse effects on children. This may be difficult to remember in the heat of the moment, but try to make an effort to reserve those conversations to adult confidants.
3. Learn to communicate effectively
There can be a lot of leftover emotions following a divorce and separation, making it hard to communicate effectively. Try treating your relationship with your co-parent like you would with a colleague. This entails being respectful, speaking professionally, and upholding appointments.
4. Remember that fair doesn’t always mean equal
Not all custody arrangements will mean 50/50 sharing time. Extracurricular activities, appointments, or holidays could mean having to give up some of “your” time. Before getting frustrated about this, listen to your child’s input and consider what they want before making a decision. Co-parenting is also about being flexible.
5. Find a support group
Tensions can run high when you’re co-parenting, and it’s important that you talk to someone during those difficult times. Try reaching out to a religious leader, opening up to a trusted friend, joining an online support community, or downloading a co-parenting app. Releasing this tension can allow you to focus on raising your child.