Co-Parenting | 8 Tips for Divorced Parents
Let’s face it. Co-parenting with your ex after a divorce or separation can be hard. Most parents don’t realize the importance of doing this. Nearly 50% of children will see their parents go through a divorce and divorced individuals often struggle with co-parenting. They may have unresolved feelings with their former partner, and this can make getting along difficult. However, it’s important that both parties be able to parent their children together. This can be especially hard in high conflict custody cases. Here are 8 co-parenting tips for those that are no longer with their child’s other parent. What is co-parenting?
Co-parenting is the cooperation between two parents regarding a child. Co-parenting involves sharing responsibilities that are related to the child. This includes communicating and making decisions together that will best benefit the child.
Be Flexible With Your Schedule
In order to successfully co-parent, you need to be empathetic towards the other parent’s needs. This can be difficult to do after getting divorced. However, you don’t want your child to have to miss out on something because of your own unresolved feelings. It’s important that you have a schedule, but you also need to be flexible. There will be times to where something comes up. You shouldn’t always tell your co-parent no when they need to change their visitation days. Try to have empathy in these types of situations. After all, you may find yourself in a similar situation to where you need the other parent to be flexible with their schedule. It’s important to always think about what’s best for the child.
Try Not To Bicker
There’s a good chance that the other parent will do something that annoys you. However, try not to bicker with them. It can be tempting to get out your frustrations with them by starting an argument. Unfortunately, this really isn’t good for anyone. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Remember that you both will probably do things a lot differently. Your parenting styles won’t always line up. That’s actually okay for the child. They will be able to easily adapt to the different rules of both households. What isn’t okay is for them to see one parent fighting with the other one. If you find that you two simply can’t get along, consider going to counseling. It can be very helpful for your co-parenting relationship. Unfortunately, the other parent might not agree to go with you. However, you can still find it beneficial to go by yourself. Your counselor will give you tips and advice on how to effectively deal with the other parent and ways to resist the urge to bicker.
Don’t Drag Out Exchanges
If you are still in a place where you have difficulty communicating with the other parent, don’t drag out exchanges. When it comes time to drop off or pick up your child, keep the small talk to a minimum. It is okay to talk about things pertaining to your child but limit the conversation to just that. Don’t talk about things that don’t affect your child. Now is not the time to have an in-depth discussion. Save those for a phone call when your child is not around. It can also be difficult for a child to deal with an exchange that drugged out. If you are having difficulty dropping your child off, don’t let them see that. Encourage them to go with the other parent. Keep your emotions to yourself, and don’t express them until your child is no longer with you. While it may be hard for you, in the long run, it will be easier for your child.
Communicate With One Another
You should always communicate with the other parent. Don’t try to relay messages to them through your child. Your child should see that their parents can put their feelings aside, and they can communicate with one another. You never want your child to feel like they are in the middle of any disagreements that you have. If you are having difficulties communicating, that is okay. The most important thing is that you make an effort. Over-time it will get easier to talk to them without feeling awkward. Try to communicate over the phone or in person. It’s important to not communicate about important topics through texts or emails. This is because it can be difficult to determine another person’s tone through the written word. An innocent text message or the email may inadvertently come across as combative.
Share Important Information About Your Child
You always want to feel involved in your child’s life even when they are with the other parent. Because of this, you should make sure the other parent feels involved as well. If your child accomplishes something that you feel is of importance, share it with the other parent. For instance, if they make the honor roll, have your child call them to tell them about it. If you snap a cute photo of your child, text it to the other parent. This will allow your co-parent to feel involved, and it will open the lines of communication. Neither parent should feel as if they are missing out just because their child is at the other parent’s household.
Be Respectful Of The Other Parent’s Time
It’s important that your child spends time with both of their parents. This is why it is important that you are respectful of the other parent’s time. Don’t be late to drop off your child or early to pick them up. This is not fair to your child or the other parent. Don’t constantly call your child when they are with the other parent. This can make it difficult for your child. If you miss them, skip the phone call. Try to distract yourself by doing something else. It is important that you allow the other parent to enjoy the time they have with your child, and you shouldn’t do anything to get in the way of it.
Have Your Child Call The Other Parent
We all want to know what’s going on with our children. This is why you should encourage your child to call the other parent frequently. They will appreciate hearing from your child on a regular basis. On birthdays and holidays, remind your child to call your co-parents. Allow them to mail cards or write emails. You will not only make the other parent happy, but this will bring joy to your child as well. If you can, try to have your child call the other parent in the evenings. They can talk to them about their day, and it will help both of them feel involved in each other’s lives even when they aren’t together. By you encouraging frequent contact between the other parent and your child, the co-parent may be more receptive to encouraging the same contact with your child when you two aren’t together.
Don’t Judge The Other Parent’s Choice
Not everyone will agree with their former partner’s choices. However, you shouldn’t judge them. As long as it doesn’t affect your child, your co-parent should be free to live their life how they want to. While you may not always agree with their choices, it is not up to you to judge them. What works for them may not be suitable for you. If you no longer live together, this is okay. After a painful break-up, it can be all too easy to judge your ex’s choices. However, it isn’t productive. Try not to talk negatively about them to your friends or family members. This isn’t healthy for you or your relationship. It will only cause you to harbor negative feelings towards your ex.
Divorce can be difficult when children are involved. By utilizing the above tips, you and your ex can successfully co-parent together. While it may be difficult in the beginning, you can eventually develop a relationship with the other parent that is beneficial for everyone involved. Here is another article on Savvy Co-parenting strategies we think you will like.