Splitting up with your spouse is a complex situation, and it’s one that gets significantly more complicated when children are involved. If your divorce is final, and a custody agreement is in place, you may find yourself navigating your new world of co-parenting.
While it’s a bit more nuanced than a conventional parenting relationship, co-parenting can be in your children’s best interests after a divorce. If you’re facing the prospect of such a situation, it can be helpful to know some best practices for making it work for your children. Here are five strategies for successful co-parenting:
1. Allow your children to voice their concerns
Your kids will likely be curious about how the situation will work. They’ll probably have questions about where they’ll spend their birthdays and holidays, as well as ponderings about where their pets will live. Since this arrangement should be about what’s in their best interests, take the time to listen to their concerns and take them into account.
2. Embrace communication
Successful co-parenting happens when communication is open and fluid. Make sure that you and your ex-spouse are routinely on the same page. If communication was an issue in the dissolution of your marriage, this may require a bit of work.
3. Don’t express your negative feelings about the other parent to your children
Your children are likely having a tough enough time adjusting to their new lives, so you don’t need to try and pit them against the other parent for your own selfish reasons. Obviously, you may have harsh feelings about your ex-spouse, but it’s prudent to keep them to yourself. Your children deserve a mature approach to a co-parenting relationship.
4. Maintain a level of respect for the other parent
It’s important to remember that a co-parenting relationship is just that—a relationship. Keep a healthy level of respect for the other parent and praise them when it’s warranted. A respectful co-parenting relationship is much more likely to succeed.
5. Change happens—be prepared to deal with it
Co-parenting, right from the jump, is going to call for the ability to adapt. Being flexible and receptive to change can really position you to succeed in your new arrangement. Change is a part of life, and if you’ve recently been through a divorce, you should already have a unique grasp on that.