Co-parenting your children with your former spouse can present some unique challenges for those who are recently divorced. You might still have some hurt feelings and problems that never got fully resolved. However, your roles as co-parents should not focus on the past or on the reasons why your marriage came to an end. Instead, your focus should be on the needs of your children.
Co-parenting with your ex-spouse is not impossible! Here are some tips to help you through it:
- Set aside your anger and resentment: Whatever your personal feelings might be towards your former spouse, you have to set them aside in order for your co-parenting relationship to work. That does not mean you have to repress your feelings, but it does mean you should find another outlet for them, such as a therapist or a trusted friend. Whatever you do, do not vent about how awful your ex-spouse is to your children. This will only hurt them in the long-run, so try to exercise restraint around them. Your children should never feel like they are in the middle of the problems you have with your ex-spouse.
- Work on communicating: Communication is often a big contributing factor for a lot of divorces, so working on it now that you are no longer together might seem like a tall order. However, learning to communicate with your co-parent is necessary for raising your children. Try to think of your co-parent as a co-worker and maintain a similarly professional tone that is respectful and neutral. Doing so can help keep things from getting emotional or personal, which can prevent you both from veering off track into a heated argument.
- Team up: Working together as a team is critical for co-parents, especially since children thrive on consistency and stability. Try to maintain similar household rules and schedules. They do not necessarily need to be identical, but it will be confusing for your children if one parent allows them to watch television before finishing their homework and the other does not. You might want to be the “fun” parent, but this will only cause problems between you and your co-parent and stress out your children.
- Learn how to resolve disagreements: You and your co-parent will inevitably disagree. If an issue is too small to warrant a conversation, pick your battles and save your breath for something bigger. During your disagreements, try to remain respectful, be a good listener, and be willing to compromise. Remember, you both want what is best for your children, so try to keep that in mind as you move forward.
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