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How to Effectively Co-Parent After Divorce

Co-parenting after divorce is now a popular arrangement between divorcing parents. Successful co-parenting arrangements usually succeed when parents live in close proximity to each other, have equitable households and are good at scheduling. However, even with the above three factors, a co-parenting arrangement cannot succeed between former spouses unless they are committed to being civil and responsible. If you find yourself in this situation here are some tips to help you along on your parenting journey.

Be Respectful to Your Ex

In the beginning, it may be necessary to view co-parenting as a business arrangement. Imagining your ex as a coworker can keep the conversation child-focused and formal and will keep both parents from rehashing old arguments.

Communicate Directly and Civilly

Each parent needs to communicate with the parent (or another adult) directly about important things like schedule changes and disagreements. Children should never be used as messengers. Arguments or negative comments about the former spouse should be discussed with adult friends when no children are present.

Accept That There Will Be Change

Your ex or you may date or remarry. As the child's family grows, it is important to be respectful and civil to the new additions. Encouraging a child to disrespect new family members will cause the co-parenting to fail.

Be Consistent

Children of married spouses try to play their parents against each other, and divorced children will too. Agreeing to consistent rules for both households will show children that if there is nothing else the same, there is a united front on parenting and it will provide stability and discipline during the divorce and adjustment period.

Listen To Each Other

Sometimes you will disagree on something about your child. Listen to your ex and respect his or her point of view. It doesn't mean you agree with it, but it will keep the situation from deteriorating and by listening carefully, you may hear something that will lead to a successful compromise.

Have a Plan for Solving Problems

But what if you just cannot agree on a rule? Unforeseen situations develop during co-parenting. Agreeing on a plan of negotiation ahead of time will end arguments and solve problems quickly. Some parents even include mediation clauses in their custody arrangements, so that time is spent on finding solutions instead of arguing about them.

It is important to remember that a co-parenting arrangement is not about you and your ex’s past, but about your child and the present. They will benefit from stability and the security of knowing that even if their parents don't love each other anymore, they love him or her so much, they are willing to work together.

Co-parenting is a gift to give your child during and after a divorce. While is it not easy, the benefits are invaluable.

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