Most divorces are messy and full of hurt feelings on both sides. These feelings are escalated when children are involved, as it can be difficult to learn how to co-parent effectively. However, you need to develop a healthy co-parenting relationship with your ex for the sake of your children. Divorce is just as hard on kids as it is on parents, and when children maintain a healthy relationship with both parents, they are more likely to feel loved and nourished and less likely to struggle with mental health issues like depression. Whether you are newly divorced or still in the process, here are three tips for co-parenting effectively.
Put the Kids’ Needs First
While you may have many hurtful and negative memories with your ex, your children probably do not. You may be tempted to view your ex as an adversary, but he or she is still your child’s other parent. You should both be on the same team when it comes to your child’s wellbeing. Your kids are probably missing the other parent and may wish to spend more time with him or her. If you can set aside your emotions and work with the other parent to set a joint custody schedule that benefits your kids, they will be better off.
Learning to put your kids’ feelings first can be difficult, especially at the beginning of the divorce process. It may be helpful to hire a lawyer from a firm that specializes in family law such as Cordell & Cordell. These Cordell and Cordell professionals can help you navigate legal agreements so that your needs are met and you can focus on helping your kids cope with this major life change.
It is important to speak cordially about your ex when speaking to your kids. Venting to them places them in the middle of the conflict and causes additional stress. Similarly, your kids should never have to act as a messenger between you and your ex. They should never be put in the position of having to take sides.
Be Willing To Compromise
No co-parenting relationship is entirely free of conflict. You will inevitably disagree with your ex on some things, and these disagreements can quickly turn into arguments if they are over holidays, rules or disciplinary consequences. You will not win every disagreement, nor will your ex. Save your energy for the important points and let small conflicts go.
You must be willing to compromise if you want to co-parent effectively. Your ex is more likely to respect you if you demonstrate respect for his or her opinions. For instance, if your ex wants to take your child to a special event that occurs while in your custody, it could be incredibly beneficial for everyone if you allow your kids to go. If you want to have your kids for Christmas, you should allow them to spend Thanksgiving with your ex. The key is to compromise.
Communicate With Your Ex
Learning to communicate cordially with your ex is vital for a healthy co-parenting relationship. If you have trouble being polite during face-to-face conversations, you should decide on an alternative method of communication that may make interacting easier. Whether you choose to use emails, texts or phone calls, you should make it a habit to share any important information with your ex.
If your child needs to see a doctor for any reason, you should let your ex know. You should also share vacation plans, disciplinary actions and bad habits your kids have picked up so your ex can be prepared. By keeping him or her in the loop, you are sending the message that you value your co-parenting relationship and are committed to keeping it healthy for the benefit of your kids.