Whether you are getting divorced, have previously been divorced, or have had a child with someone you are not in a relationship with, co-parenting can be a struggle. When two people attempt to successfully co-parent for the sake of their child’s well-being, everyone is happier. This blog post is going to discuss nine ways that you can help make your own and your child’s life easier by co-parenting more effectively.
- Commit to being positive. Being positive about the child’s other parent and about the unique situation that your family is in can be beneficial for everyone in a co-parenting situation. As tempting as it may be to talk badly about your ex, it is not going to benefit your child in any way to hear you speak about their parent in a negative way.
- Try to stay consistent. If you and your ex can agree to follow the same type of structure in your houses your child can benefit greatly. It may be tempting to be the “fun” parent, but research shows that having a consistent routine in both homes is beneficial for a child. Children thrive in structured environments so it is beneficial to have the same or similar rules and schedules in both homes.
- Update often. If you and your ex can stand to speak to each other about updates regarding your child it can help with keeping routines consistent and with your child’s overall well-being. It can also help with your peace of mind to know about what is happening while your child is with your ex and your ex will likely appreciate the updates for the same reason.
- Be aware of your child’s attempts to push the boundaries. Related to the third tip, if you remain updated on what your ex is doing with your child, it will be more difficult for your child to manipulate either parent. Even the best children can be tempted to play their parents off each other in a co-parenting situation and staying aware of that can prevent conflict between everyone.
- Discuss concerns with your ex promptly and resist the temptation to assume the worst. If you hear something that concerns you about your ex or suspect that something bad is going on it can be tempting to “tell them off” or jump at the chance to let them know how much you dislike them, but doing that is not going to lead to a positive outcome. If you can approach a problem with a cool head, explain to your ex why you feel that they are doing something wrong, and explain what you would like them to change, you are much more likely to get a positive response. You may even find that you were incorrect in your concern or that they simply didn’t realize they were doing something that bothers you.
- Have a shared calendar of the child’s events. With the technology available today, sharing calendars across devices with instant updates can be very simple. If you and your ex can share a calendar that is solely for events that involve your child you can both be more involved and avoid any accusations of forgetting to tell someone about an event.
- Set up a child only email. You and your ex can set up email accounts that you will use to send emails with only communication regarding your child. This can be a good way to avoid any discrepancies as far as what was or wasn’t communicated and can also help as a quick and easy way to reference communication about your child in order to refresh yourself on details you may forget. Also, having to type out something you want to say to your ex may help you realize that you need to re-phrase your thoughts in a way that is more positive.
- Stay focused on what will be best for your child. It should go without saying, but don’t use your child to hurt your ex. Sometimes it may be tempting to be difficult with your visitation schedule and tell your ex that they can’t have your child for a cousin’s birthday party or something on a weekend that you should have custody, but the person that is really being hurt in these situations is your child. Being flexible when it is reasonable can create more positive interactions for everyone and may cause your ex to be more flexible with your requests in the future.
- Focus on the good. As with any other part of life, your perception can really change how you feel about something. If you force yourself to focus on the positive things your ex is doing you will see them in a more positive light. It may be difficult at first, especially if you participated in a recent divorce, but if you can keep in mind that your ex is trying to be a good parent, or even just that they take the time to go to your child’s events and that makes your child happy, it will help you to begin to see your ex in a positive light and build a positive co-parenting relationship.
If you have any questions regarding a family law matter contact Guest and Gray and we can set up a time to discuss your case and let you know what your options are.