Co-parenting children with your “ex” can be a difficult process. Your relationship has ended, but you still have a responsibility to take care of your kids. This is why it’s crucial that you learn to do whatever is best for the children. You can be successful in this endeavor by taking action to move forward.
Why Co-Parenting Is Better For Kids
Children love both of their parents, so they benefit from a united front:
- Research shows that kids thrive in positive co-parenting environments.
- They feel more secure and enjoy a consistent parenting style. They’re able to handle issues easier. Kids know they have both parents to rely on in tough situations.
- They also have a good example to follow for their own future relationships.
Try these strategies for successful co-parenting:
1. Separate your feelings from the kids. You’re probably dealing with a great amount of pain, anger, and resentment after a separation or divorce. However, it’s important to put these feelings aside to take care of your kids.
- It’s okay to deal with your feelings by getting therapy or talking to friends and family.
- However, your children can’t be substitute, miniature therapists. They also shouldn’t suffer and be isolated from your partner because you’re angry.
- Avoid complaining about your partner in front of the kids or using your children to convey messages to your partner. It’s not their responsibility to handle your relationship’s leftover issues.
2. Make communication the key. Even if you’re still hurt, you must communicate with your ex about the kids. You may need to talk to each other about a variety of things such as school supplies, field trips, permission slips, dietary changes, and others.
- Try to make your communications about the kids free from anger and stress. This isn’t always easy to achieve, but it’s an important and beneficial goal.
- Maintaining a formal tone in your conversations can sometimes de-personalize the discussion enough to get through it peacefully.
- Listening is one of the keys. Be willing to listen to each other and make changes.
3. Work together. It may seem redundant, but co-parenting requires that you work together.
- Your kids need to receive consistent rules and advice from both of you. They will learn that going to either you or your ex will give them the same results. You don’t want them playing you against each other to get their way.
4. Make it easier for the kids. Going from one parent to the other and constantly shifting from one household to the other is hard for kids. Make these transitions easier for your children.
Talk openly about the transition with them. Let them know what they’ll be doing. Will they be spending half their time at the other house? Or just every other weekend? Just knowing the plan will help them prepare.
- Help your children pack, organize their things, and make lists together.
- Help them to feel comfortable with the changes in your homes.
Co-parenting with your ex can be difficult and stressful. Keeping a mindset of doing the best for your kids can help alleviate the chaos, tone down some of the emotions, and minimize the stress as you work together.