Being a co-parent to your child can be tricky. Not only do you not get to spend time with your children as often, but you have to interact with a former partner or spouse in a way that doesn’t impact your daily life. Striking the balance is difficult, and many separated parents struggle to make it work. But with better strategies and a well-developed mind frame, co-parenting can work for you.
Keep it Civil
The number one way you can make sure co-parenting works is by keeping your interactions with the other parent civil. It can be easy to stew over problems in your relationship—especially when certain actions impact your children. However, you must approach every interaction with as much civility and calm as you can muster.
If you have noticed that it is incredibly hard to do this, consider hiring a personal therapist or counselor. They can help you navigate these challenges in your life. They can help you get into the right headspace before you talk with your co-parent. Therapists often give calming techniques that allow you to overcome your initial feelings of anger and frustration. The point is, according to 2Houses, you should make sure that you don’t make a scene and be civil with your ex-spouse.
Another way you can co-parent even better is by learning to communicate more effectively. Most misunderstandings come from a lack of clear expectations between one or both parties. By expressing precisely what you expect from your co-parent, you can save yourself a lot of long-term heartache.
Additionally, approaching tough conversations neutrally at first while asking more of your co-parent can make it seem like you aren’t attacking them. This can necessitate a certain level of tact that you might not feel prepared for, but putting this into practice frequently can help you get used to the skill. According to Divorce Mag, better communication takes work, and even though your partner might not be great at it still, your poise will help your co-parenting situation.
Consider Your Children’s Needs
Overall, you have to remember why you are making the effort to co-parent—your children. There are reasons why you and your ex-spouse got separated. However, this shouldn’t take away from your children’s needs. As co-parents, both of you want the best for your children.
Talk with your kids regularly about what they want out of life. According to the Law Office of Stephanie J Squires, best interests are often very subjective, but including your children in the decision can help them feel more in control of their own lives. Be honest with your children regarding what is going on, so they don’t feel shocked if a change occurs. Work with your co-parent for the benefit of the children. If you both have a conflict in what you want for your children, you should let them decide. This can be challenging, but necessary.
Co-parenting is a messy business. Not only do you have to continue to work with a spouse you might feel upset toward, but you also have to navigate the normal challenges of raising children. You can be up to the challenge as you communicate, attempt civility, and focus on your kids’ needs. It may not be easy, but it will be possible.
Read this next: Things to Consider if Your Family Travels A Lot