Did you know that over 50% of US families are remarried or recoupled? That means that there are a lot of adults that are focused on finding a way to successful co-parent with an ex-spouse or relationship partner.
It doesn’t matter if you’re freshly separated or have been divorced for years, co-parenting is difficult.
Finding a new way to handle your family structure is no easy task. You have to not just take your own feelings into consideration, but also the feelings of your child and ex-partner.
If you need some tips on how to successfully parent with an ex-partner, you’ve come to the right place. Let us help you find the best ways to co-parent your children.
Essential Tips for Co-Parenting Post Divorce
Co-parenting isn’t something that can be learned in a day. It’ll take time, insight, and compromise to reach a level of co-parenting everyone feels comfortable with.
If you follow these co-parenting tips, you’ll be able to ensure that you’re laying down the right foundation for a loving relationship everyone in your family can benefit from.
Do Put Your Child First
The thought of texting your ex may make your skin crawl. But if you want to effectively co-parent, you need to put your feelings aside and think about your child.
Think about how your own behavior can affect your relationship with your ex and how it can affect your child. If you refuse to speak to your ex, your child could be missing out on having a loving relationship with one of their parents.
Nobody said that co-parenting was going to be easy. You’ll have to make some tough choices and potentially swallow your pride to keep the peace.
Whether you’re making a big parenting decision with your ex-spouse or are working out next week’s schedule, always ask yourself how your behavior or decision will affect your child. Prioritize your child over yourself for the best outcome.
Don’t Make Your Child Choose Sides
Despite everything that may have lead to your divorce, your child loves their parents. It’s important to accept that your child deserves to have a loving and full relationship with both of their parents.
Keep your negative thoughts and opinions about the other parent to yourself, and don’t make your child feel like they have to choose your side to feel loved.
If you view a weekend trip, living situation decision, or a request to spend more time with a parent as proof that your child loves the other parent more, you’ll never be able to effectively co-parent.
Accept that your child has more than enough love to give both of their parents. Don’t discourage them from spending time with your ex-spouse or in-laws, they’re still your child’s family.
Do Consider Legal Help
Are you going through an especially contentious divorce? Do you doubt your ability to come up with a fair and unbiased parenting and custody plan for your child?
Never underestimate the power of having good legal representation when you’re figuring out your custody plan. A lawyer can give unbiased and legally sound advice on the best way for you to go about co-parenting after divorce.
Having a lawyer work with you from the start could help avoid needless litigation, and can help you focus on other important aspects of getting through the divorce and parenting your child.
Don’t Parent in a Vacuum
You may have custody of your child for weekdays. But that doesn’t mean that you should plan after school activities for every day of the week without talking to your ex-spouse first.
You wouldn’t appreciate learning that you need to be home an hour earlier every Wednesday in case your ex can’t pick up your child from band practices. Take the other parent’s needs into consideration before making long-term plans.
Make sure you’re on the same page about their schedule for school days and the weekend. Let the other parent know about any important events that happen when they aren’t around.
Do Think About the Future
You may not be even thinking about dating now, but have you given any thought about how you’d introduce a new partner to your child? Have you talked to your spouse about what they would feel comfortable with?
Your child may be a freshman in high school, but graduation will be here before you know it. Have you talked to your spouse about covering college costs?
There’s a lot on your plate now, so thinking so far into the future may feel a little overwhelming. But it’s important to think about how you both will handle crucial events in your child’s future.
The last thing you’d want is to handle these sensitive events as they happen with little to no plan. Take some time to talk to your spouse, counselor, or an impartial mediator about the best way to handle important decisions.
Don’t Be the “Cool” Parent
When you have limited time with your kids, it’s understandable that you’ll want them to enjoy themselves at your house.
Late bedtimes, unlimited junk food, and ample TV and Internet time may be fun for your child now. But soon you won’t just be the “cool” parent, you’ll also become the parent they know they can test limits with and don’t have to obey.
Kids need structure and routine when they go between both households. Rules and expectations should be the same across the board if you want your kids to adjust well.
It’s okay to give them little treats and privileges here and there, but don’t make your house a rule-free zone. Let your kids know that you and their other parent are still a united front when it comes to raising them.
Do Create a Communication Plan
You can’t imagine talking to your spouse now, but you have to leave the lines of communication open for your child. Take some time to think about how you can stay in contact with your spouse and maintain your personal emotional boundaries.
You may feel comfortable limiting yourself to written communication through text and email. A weekly check-in call may be the best way to communicate, or establishing a neutral 3rd party to pass along messages to can help.
When you’re establishing these rules, it’s also a good idea to determine how you want to talk about the situation with your children.
It’s highly recommended that both parents make a pact to avoid talking poorly about each other or giving details about the divorce to kids.
Remember, your kids deserve to have a chance to be kids. They shouldn’t know intimate details about your divorce or feel like they have to pick sides.
Two Houses, One Goal
When you’re co-parenting it’s not about being right or getting your way. The ultimate goal for everything you do is to raise a happy and healthy child.
When you approach co-parenting the right way, it’s easy to make good decisions for your child. Following our do’s and don’ts can help you establish healthy and loving relationships in your family’s next phase.
Remember, if you have any legal questions we’re always here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns about divorce or custody.