Being able to share parenting responsibilities is hard enough when you are with your child’s other parent. However, when you are not together it presents even more challenges. In most cases, it is in the child’s best interest for the two parents to co-parent. There are two main reasons that co-parenting is always the best option: the ability to have close relationships with both parents and stability.
Why You Should Co-Parent
There are a number of different reasons that you are going to find co-parenting to be in your child’s best interest. Being able to set aside differences to do so will teach your child that they are the most important thing to both of their parents. It also shows them that they are more important than whatever was the cause of the divorce in the first place. When parents are able to co-parent successfully they give their child a great example to follow, help them learn how to successfully solve problems from a young age, help them to feel secure even in a bad situation, and allow them to have the most consistent situation possible.
Tips for Successful Co-Parenting
Of course, co-parenting can really be a struggle. If you are ready with the right tools and tips, you will find that success is possible.
Put Anger Aside
One of the first things that you have to do is learn to set aside the anger. Make sure that you are keeping your personal feelings separate from your behaviors. This might require you to be able to get your feelings out somewhere else whether it be therapy or a form of exercise. Learn what helps calm you, whether it be essential oils or deep breathing and use that when you are getting upset. Also, keeping conversations kid focused can help to keep them positive. Make sure that you never put your child in the middle by never saying how you feel around them and never asking them to take a message to the other parent. Putting your child in the middle can be very detrimental to your child.
Learn How to Communicate with Your Ex
One of the things that you need to learn how to do is be able to communicate with your ex. Communication can be tough, but when you know what you are doing it can really help co-parenting to work. The first thing that you need to do is set a tone that is more business-like. This can help you to make sure that you are not dealing with emotional issues but instead only discussing issues that are focused on the children. Make sure that you are consistent with the times and places that you meet. Take the time to request things rather than telling the other parent what you will be doing with your child. Listen to the what the other parent says and requests. This is especially important if the other parent in violating a court order or not following a parenting plan. Speak to your Ex an determine if the plan needs to be modified better fit their schedule and circumstances.
Learn How to Parent as a Team
Parenting as a team can be tough. Talking through things like rules, bedtimes, and how your child will be disciplined make co-parenting possible. Consistency is key to this type of team child rearing effort. Also make sure that you are ready to discuss the important issues. These include things like financial responsibility, medical issues, and education. These are always things that you should aim to agree upon.
Learn How to Handle Disagreements
Disagreements are going to happen from time to time. Learning how to handle those disagreements is something that you will have to do in order to be able to co-parent. Be sure that you are being respectful when you communicate about a disagreement. Even if you think that something is dumb, make sure that you watch the words that you are using. Also, you should make sure that you are talking and not yelling. Learning how to ignore the small disagreements will go a long way. Finally, you will have to learn how to compromise and come to an agreement with one another.
Learn How to Handle Transitions
Co-parenting is not just tough on adults, it is also tough on the children involved. Transitioning between two different households can be something that is a struggle for everyone involved. Learning how to handle transitions can make the whole situation better for your child. When your child is getting ready for the other parent’s house, it is a good idea to prepare your child mentally by talking about the change. Also, the parent who has the child should always drop them off so that it does not feel like one parent is taking the child from the other. Finally, make sure your child is packed ahead of time and ready for when they are leaving. When your child comes home it can be hard for them as well. Make sure that you allow your child to have some space and that coming home is relaxing. Have your child have their own things in each house rather than taking everything back and forth.
Being able to co-parent can be a tough journey. Understanding that it is truly in the best interest of your child, can help you to put forth the effort needed to be successful.