Updated November 27, 2023
How do you and your ex become the best divorced parents possible? The key is effective co-parenting. An amicable co-parenting arrangement with your ex is not always easy, but when successfully carried out, it can give your children stability and a sense of being close to both their parents. Following a divorce or breakup, it is therefore important to put aside the anger and hostility of the past and develop a civil working relationship with your former spouse.
These 8 tips will help you foster an effective co-parenting relationship by helping you and your ex stay calm and consistent and avoid using the children to resolve outstanding conflicts.
Tip No. 1: Keep an Open Dialogue with Your Ex
To maintain consistency in child-rearing practices, you and your former spouse need to converse regularly. This should ideally be done face to face, but if the divorce was acrimonious and you aren’t ready for a personal conversation, discussions related to the children can be carried out via text, email, voicemail messages, or other services like Our Family Wizard.
Tip No. 2: Keep Rules Consistent Across Both Households
Children need structure and routine, so they know that no matter where they are, the same rules apply. You and your ex need to come to a consensus on matters such as bedtime, chore schedules, and homework, so that the boundaries and behavioral guidelines are the same in both households. Research has demonstrated that children who are raised by a unified parenting approach have greater well-being.
Read: What Is Co-Parenting?
Tip No. 3: Avoid Speaking Negatively About Each Other to Improve Co-Parenting
There will be times when you feel like venting about your ex’s infidelity, irresponsibility, and other personal flaws, but confine those discussions to your best friend or therapist. Speaking disrespectfully about the other parent in front of the children can damage their relationship with him or her and create feelings of insecurity.
Tip No. 4: Don’t Use the Children as Pawns
Your children have the right to enjoy a loving and rewarding relationship with both parents, so using them to get information about your ex’s doings or influence your ex about an issue is never acceptable.
Tip No. 5: Be Flexible
While routine is healthy and important for children of any age, it’s also important for you and your ex-spouse to be flexible with one another. A good rule of thumb is to be as accommodating with them as you’d like them to be with you.
Tip No. 6: Develop an Extended Family Plan
Discuss and agree on the role that extended family members such as grandparents, aunts, and uncles will play in the children’s lives and the access they’ll be granted in both households. Welcoming a family member in one home but barring them from another will only create confusion.
Tip No. 7: Be Willing to Compromise
Successful co-parenting requires compromise, so hone your negotiation skills. For example, if you want to exchange dates with your ex, ask him or her and be willing to compromise when there’s a particular weekend that they want to spend with the kids.
Tip No. 8: Be a Stable Influence
Resist the urge to curry favor with the children by being the “cool parent.” Such a ploy will only backfire when they return to their other parent’s house and face a different routine. Remember that kids do best with a united front, so combine a sense of fun with structure and stability.
The compassionate and experienced attorneys at Freed Marcroft take pride in guiding and supporting clients through all aspects of the divorce process. Call us today to schedule a consultation.