There are plenty of families all over the world that are co-parenting with their ex. Some are stuck living in the same household and others have moved on with another partner. Regardless of what stage of co-parenting you’re in, the hard truth is that co-parenting sucks.
When two parents live together and are in a relationship they tend to create this balance, almost like “good cop” and “bad cop”, but when the family unit dismantles, chaos ensues! The balance of mom and dad is no longer there and the kids are tossed between two households.
Divorce impacts the parents and kids in a variety of ways. While co-parenting may be difficult and sometimes impossible, there are some ways you can handle co-parenting with your ex so that you all can raise decent human beings.
Separate Your Feelings
The first step towards getting along in this new stage of parenting is to get your feelings in check. If you had a rocky divorce and have some bad feelings towards your ex, these feelings cannot play any role in co-parenting. It’s not your kids’ fault that you’re divorced or that your spouse cheated or whatnot, it’s time to learn how to separate your personal feelings and only focus on what pertains to co-parenting.
Never put your kids in the middle of your adult issues. Allow your kids to feel safe and confident being able to love both parents, regardless of how you feel about the other parent. Stay kid-focused with every exchange while your kids are around, and use email for communication with anything that may get heated.
Improve Your Communication
Some divorced couples go through co-parenting counseling to help them work through their issues that may interfere with positive co-parenting. You’ll need to place an emphasis on being able to improve your communication during the co-parenting years.
At this time, you both know how the other person listens best and what may anger the other person. Do your best to keep communication simple, kid-centered, and without emotion. You’ll need to listen to each other and do your best to find a middle ground.
Respect Each Other’s Homes
Last, but not least, when it comes to co-parenting your kids will have two homes and two sets of rules. While some co-parents do their best to make the rules similar in both households, this is not the norm. You’ll find that the kids will peg the parents against each other with things like, “mom lets me do this” or “dad lets us do that”.
Do not play into the kids’ games, after all, this is their norm because they’re younger and don’t know better. Learn to respect the rules that your co-parent has in their home by never telling them how to parent in their house. You’ll want to discuss any situations that you deem dangerous, but otherwise? Leave the rule setting to each parent in their home and let your kids know that you cannot control the rules in their other parent’s house.
These are just some of the best ways you can co-parent with your ex. The key is to truly step back and only focus on kid things because in all reality, you guys got divorced for a reason and that reason certainly wasn’t the kids’ fault!