If you need co-parenting tips, then you are in the right place. It is true that co-parenting tips will only work when there is mutual effort, but you can start alone.
One of the struggles divorced parents face is amicable co-parenting; this is because the children desire the attention of both parents as much as the parents desire full custody of their kid. For couples under the same roof with kids, parenting could be quite challenging enough; this implies that it is going to be a more difficult task when parents are divorced, live in different places, and have new spouses.
Though raising your kids in collaboration with your ex can be very difficult, if you both could learn how to co-parent your children amicably, your kids would grow up to be confident and stable as though they had both parents together.
Unless the breakup is partly linked to addiction issues, emotional abuse or domestic violence, it would be best for the children to have a relationship with both parents, as divorce could cause them significant psychological damage. It is normal to worry about what your ex would think about the idea of co-parenting and how you feel about it as well.
But for the sake of the kid’s well-being, you both could learn to keep a cordial relationship to overcome co-parenting challenges. With the tips on this article, you can put your differences aside, make joint-custody work, and make your kids have a healthy childhood regardless of the divorced.
Co-parenting tips 1: Keep emotions aside
It is normal and acceptable to feel hurt and angry after a breakup, but you mustn’t let your feelings dictate your actions or behaviour. To successfully co-parent with your ex, you must put all emotions; anger, resentment, hate, hurt for the sake of your children. Although this seems to be the most challenging part of cooperating with an ex-partner, it’s perhaps the most vital part of the whole process. Co-parenting is about the happiness, stability and well-being of your children rather than your feelings or that of your ex. Many co-parenting tips will encourage a parent to let their emotions show, but never do that in front of the kids.
When you spend time with your children, try not to vent your emotions on them, by giving them the burden of listening to you as you get those negative feelings off your chest. Regardless of how bitter you feel, avoid saying negative things about your ex to your child. Instead, you can confide in a therapist, a friend, pet or even yourself to offer a listening ear when you need someone to talk to. Engaging in hobbies and recreational activities also provides a healthy outlet for those emotions.
Furthermore, whenever you feel resentful or angry, remember that you’re doing what’s best for your children by opting for co-parenting, looking at a photo of them could help calm you down when you feel bitter. Though you wouldn’t be able to give up all the bitterness your breakup cause you, you can acknowledge that it’s your issues and not your child’s; therefore you must keep those issues away from your kids as much as possible.
Lastly, you don’t want to get your kids in the middle of your mess by asking them to convey messages to your co-parent. The primary purpose of co-parenting is to keep your children out of your relationship issues so that they can have the much-needed balance, in their childhood experience with both parents. Whenever you have a message for your ex, be sure to call or text them instead.
Co-parenting tips 2: Work as a team
This may seem like the most impossible of co-parenting tips, but, it works. There would be a lot of decision making to do with your ex, and whether you like each other or not, you both would have to work as a team. Decision making would be an easy task if you both communicate and cooperate without bickering or blow-ups. With consistency and teamwork, you and your co-parent can work out decision making in ways best for your children.
Since your kids would grow in two different homes, it is vital that they are exposed to slightly different perspectives, adapt flexibility, and recognize they are living under similar basic rules and expectations. This way, they don’t get to bounce back and forth between two different disciplinary homes.
When it comes to common lifestyle issues like homework, screen time, curfews and off-limit activities, both homes should try to follow similar patterns. This also applies to consequences when rules are broken, and rewards for doing the right thing, regardless of whose roof it happened under. Again, try to keep similar, and consistently scheduled time for the children’s primary activities, such as bedtime and homework, this would go a long way in helping the child adjust to having two different homes.
Furthermore, you and your co-parent must consult each other openly and honestly, when it comes to making significant decisions in the child’s life. Both parents must come to a compromise concerning the child’s educational, medical and financial needs, as sheared responsibility would make co-parenting an easier task. Decision making should be a “win-win” for both co-parents as you come around to your co-parent’s opinion as often as he or she does to yours.
There are bound to be disagreements on specific issues as you co-parent with your ex, it is crucial to keep in mind that coming to a joint agreement would be best for your child. Having some respect for each other would also go a long way during co-parenting, try to be considerate by looking into the other personal opinions. Instead of fighting over making a decision, try to see the reasons why your co-parent’s view is right or give reasons why your opinion would be in the best interest of the child.
Avoid bringing in your differences into the discussion as that’s not what co-parenting is about; to make the best decision for your child, you want to make the discussion solely about them. Avoid making a fuss out of every small disagreement, and try not to argue with your ex in front of the child as much as possible.
Finally, if you both find it difficult to come to a compromise, you want to keep talking about the issue and not drop it. If the argument goes any further, you may want to invite a third party like a mediator or a therapist.
Co-parenting tips 3: Make home transitions or visits easier for the child
Moving from one home to another can be challenging times for the child because every reunion with one parent cost a separation from the other, regardless of how often. Although, the home transition is unavoidable during co-parenting, as loving parents, there are thing you could do to make it easy for your kids.
Firstly, stay positive and try to deliver the kids in time as they depart from your home to your ex’s. Remind your kids they’ll be leaving to the other parent’s house beforehand, a day or two would be perfect. Depending on their age, you may want to help and encourage them to pack so they don’t leave behind anything they’ll miss, such as a favourite toy or book.
To make the kids more comfortable with packing, have them keep absolute essentials at both houses, things like toothbrush, pyjamas, and clothes and shoes. Always drop them off at the other parent’s home and avoid picking them up, you wouldn’t want to risk interrupting a special moment or make it seem you’re snatching away the children.
At first, moving from one home to another may feel awkward for you and your child, to help the child adjust; try to have some downtime with them as they enter your home, engaging in quiet activities like reading the child favourite book would be perfect. Kids may often need space and alone time to adjust to the transition, allow them to be for a while; things will get back to normal with time.
Making out routines could also be helpful, at the return of your child from the other home you could regularly serve them a special meal, or play a particular game with them. Children excel better with routines; knowing what to expect when they return to your home could help them anticipate the transition. Both parents have to work together to make their homes comfortable for the child so that they anticipate every coming and departure.
Co-parenting tips 4: Effective communication
To always have a purposeful communication with your ex, make your child the focal point of the conversation. Though it may seem impossible to engage in peaceful and consistent discussions with someone who has hurt you in the past if you think of it as having the highest purpose for your child’s well-being it becomes a lot easier.
If you know it would be challenging to have a meaningful conversation if you meet face to face, you both could device other methods of communicating, perhaps through emails, calls or social media. The aim is to establish a conflict-free conversation to create understanding.
Whichever way you both choose to have contact, you want to set every conversation in a corporate-like tone as though you are speaking with a business partner, where your child is the business involved. Speak or write to your co-parent with respect, politeness and neutrality, and in a slow and relaxing tone.
Make statements that could be considered a request rather than misinterpreted as demand, you could adopt words like “Can we try…?” or “Would you willingly…?” Furthermore, you want to dedicate time to listen to the other person view, even though you end up disagreeing with it. Listening doesn’t mean you agree with the other parent; it only let them know that you’ve understood and considered their perspective. Learn to apologize if you lose your cool during a conversation, also learn to chill out on some minor misunderstandings.
Communicating with your ex is going to be a necessity for the whole of your kid’s childhood, if not longer. For smooth communication, in the long run, you would have to train yourself not to overreact to your ex-spouse, and with the time you can become numb to the stunts they try to pull. Although it may be difficult, try to keep consistent communication with your co-parent, this way your children get to see that both parents are in talking terms.
Even if other co-parenting tips do not make sense to you, take this last one very seriously.
In the course of co-parenting, have in mind that you cannot control your ex-spouse, but you have total control over your actions. Unless your child is being mistreated, neglected or abused, you may want to ignore your co-parent’s misbehaviour.
Your primary concern should be creating and maintaining a physically and emotionally supportive environment for your child. The responsibility of co-parenting your children would lessen with time, and they would understand when they get older and appreciate you for being there for them.
We hope that the co-parenting tips we have shared here will be helpful to you.