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Parenthood is already challenging for people who are content with their relationship and live happily with their kids under a single roof. Now imagine what single parents have to go through. Not to forget how children that experience parental break-up often feel aggressive and suffer high emotional stress in every domain of life.
That’s why after the dust has settled and things calmed down after the split-up, co-parenting is the best decision to meet the needs of children. Although, none of the two partners would have imagined raising their kids in two separate households. Nonetheless, life, at times, throws curveballs at us. Some situations are bound to happen no matter what. However, it is relevant to note that co-parenting isn’t the preferable option if there’s already substance abuse and domestic violence involved.
Co-parenting refers to a circumstance where both parents, either separated or divorced, work collaboratively for children’s sake. Such people face scads of difficulties during this journey, from haywire emotions and hectic schedules to accepting new partners and joint custody contracts. In addition, you may face economic crises or have ostensibly insoluble differences with your ex while upbringing your kids.
It is next to impossible to befriend your partner after a split-up. However, unfortunately, single parents sometimes have no other option but to pull themselves together and create a stable environment for their kids. Indubitably, it is easier said than done. You will have to put the old pains and grudges at the back of your mind and keep your hard feelings at bay. There may be times when your ex-spouse gets under your skin. However, you don’t have to act on impulse. Instead, each parent should put the children’s interests above their own.
Generally, people set up a family trust for the family’s financial well-being and to protect valuable assets. However, this family trust fund might get affected in the event of co-parenting. For example, the decisions made in divorce legal proceedings might override the trust the ex-partners had. Thus, co-parenting duties and joint custody might range from the chaos of horridness to friendly and synergistic.
Let’s flesh out some of the hard-won tips for peaceful and collaborative co-parenting:
Co-Parenting Tips For Divorced Parents
1. Effective Communication Is The Key
Some, if not many, relationships don’t work out due to poor communication. Therefore, many co-parents find it hard to communicate effectively with each other. It doesn’t matter if you and your former partner aren’t on speaking terms. When it comes to your child’s welfare, you need to keep all your communication channels open. However, it is pertinent to note that the communication between you and your ex-spouse shouldn’t be through kids.
Speak about your kids’ challenges, don’t let the conversation direct towards the old hurts and past feelings. If there are any unresolvable issues, don’t discuss them before the eyes of children. Instead, arrange a date and a neutral location to talk. If you aren’t ready for in-person meetings, try out different mediums such as texts, emails, or calls. Sure, you might be unable to endure the wait in case of conflicts. However, try to avoid it turning into heated arguments in the presence of children. Don’t make personal attacks and respect each other’s points of view. Being a co-parent, it is your responsibility to act as a role model for your kids.
2. Stay Positive
Whether you and your ex have been through a rocky divorce or you both split up with mutual understanding and decision, you need to move past your separation. Therefore, make sure to keep a positive attitude to make the most out of the co-parenting plan. The best way to remain positive is to point out good aspects about your former partner in front of the kids. Only then can you focus on excellent co-parenting for your child’s well-being.
For instance, you can tell your child how good their dad is at soccer games or how incredible a photographer their mom is. In this way, your child will feel safe around you and can share any emotion about the other co-parent with you.
3. Don’t Belittle Your Ex-Partner
The tricky bit of co-parenting is your children are the eyewitness to the reasons for your divorce. You may not realize, but young kids grasp the situations and understand the behaviors more quickly. They notice every minute detail and observe the slightest bit of a change in attitudes with your ex-partner. Therefore, make sure to avoid derogatory or confusing remarks and bad-mouthing about your ex-partner in front of your children.
For instance, if your ex-partner gets late or has forgotten any decided arrangements regarding your children, avoid blame-game and not tarnish their reputation. Instead, try to choose the right and kind words and reassure your child that their co-parent might not be at fault or ignoring them. Doing so will eradicate any confusion or negative thoughts from your child’s mind. Also, ensure that no third person belittles or badmouth your child’s co-parent. It will trigger conflicts between you and your ex-partner and invoke a feeling of insecurity in your child’s personality.
4. Develop A Co-Parenting Plan
One of the most crucial co-parenting tips is to make a robust plan by mutual understanding at your earliest. Keep your resentments away, and don’t think of your former partner as your ex but as your child’s co-parent. In this manner, both parents can work on your children’s bright future and well-being. It is also true that no two households have similar rules or ways of living. However, you and your child’s co-parent needs to establish some basic and consistent guidelines for your children. That way, your children won’t feel anxious or confused. For instance, if the dad’s house has some time limit not to leave the house at night, the mother’s home should also not allow it. Similar guidelines can help build consistency and avoid any conflicts.
Your co-parenting agreement plan must include holiday plans, education, visitation schedule, and other essential matters. Keep in mind there is no single or universal co-parenting plan; you and your ex-spouse must create a plan that benefits your children. Moreover, don’t forget to save the co-parenting plan in some documented form, so everyone abides by the rules.
5. Celebrate Important Events Together
One of the stickiest challenges of co-parenting is to celebrate significant and memorable events together as a family. Children generally crave the presence of both parents when they achieve something bigger in life. Therefore, put your hurt and ego aside and include the other parent in your kids’ little or big moments. If it’s not convenient for your former partner to be there at the occasion, break the news through a text message and make a video call.
Similarly, in the case of festivals or religious holidays, you and your ex-spouse can divide the days in half. And while you are at it, follow the traditions that your family used to do previously, such as making a special dessert or wrapping presents together. Also, talk beforehand with your former partner about the gifts you wish to buy for the kids. That way, you both won’t end up with the same ones.
After the roughness of a divorce, interacting with your former partner for co-parenting might seem like a formidable task, especially if your relationship was contentious. However, it is nothing that you cannot do. Instead of harping on about your ex-partner, focus on building a negative-free, safe, and comforting environment for your kids. Make your children feel valued and realize that they hold more importance than the dispute that ended up the relationship. Let them know that your love will preponderate regardless of altering situations. Remember, you have got no domination and power whatsoever over your ex’s actions. As long as your ex doesn’t abuse, ill-treat, or neglect the kids, avoid indulging in petty issues. That way, you can omit the unhealthy patterns and make your children grow up into well-rounded individuals.