Divorce is tough and co-parenting is even tougher. Working together as parents after going through a painful divorce can seem impossible at times.
But following a few tips for successful co-parenting with your ex can help get you both on the right track toward a respectful parenting relationship.
Check Your Emotions
Emotions run high after a divorce. Even the most amicable divorces can bring about feelings of sadness and frustration. For the sake of the children, it's best to leave the problems of the marriage in the past.
Learning to communicate as co-parents rather than a couple takes purposeful practice. Every time you feel frustrated about something your ex has said or done, rather than lash out through text or a call, sit on the thought for a while.
Allowing an opinion or thought to sit for a day often causes it to not seem so important anymore. This is also a great practice for giving yourself extra time to phrase a thought or opinion more politely. Even if your ex is in the wrong, you don't need the added stress that will come from arguing.
Respect Each Other's Time
In a co-parenting situation, both parents will have an allotted amount of time with the children. When it is your ex's turn, allow them that time to be the parent. Let them make the decisions about how the time is going to be used.
This works both ways. During times without the kids, be sure to respect each other's alone time. Single parenting is exhausting. You both need that time alone to focus on other things besides parenting.
When children are involved, divorce can never completely sever your ties with your ex. The new people you choose to date will affect your children, and in turn, have an effect on your ex's life.
There can be a temptation in bitter divorces to sort of get back at your ex by dating someone they'd never approve of. That idea is a silly waste of time since in the end it will most likely hurt your children and yourself more than your ex.
Try to exercise patience and an open mind as your ex introduces someone new to the kids. You'll want the same respect yourself when it's your turn.
Consider a matchmaking service when the time for dating comes. A matchmaker will listen to your questions and needs in a way a dating app cannot. Dating in this way will be easier on everyone.
Speak Highly of Your Ex
For many, this is impossible and understandably so. However, if you can squeeze in kind words here and there, it does benefit the children.
Children see themselves as a reflection of their parents. When you openly insult mom or dad in front of them, they find it confusing and can feel you are insulting them, not just your ex. Children of divorce fare better when mom and dad never speak poorly of each other, but instead seem to have a civil relationship.
Remember, co-parenting is about the children, not you. Use these tips for successful co-parenting with your ex and turn the focus toward a healthy parent-child relationship.