Divorce can be a tricky phase, especially when children are involved. Beyond separating from your partner, the parties must overlook their differences and work out a suitable parenting plan to ensure their children experience some stability. Getting along with an ex is something not everyone can handle well.
“The child’s wellbeing should be the priority of parents at all times. Co-parenting can be challenging; however, it is a sacrifice most parents are willing to make to safeguard their children’s happiness,” says Family Attorney Samah Abukhodeir of The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm.
When parents can no longer stay together, they will need to find a way to co-parent, which can be tasking. Knowing what to do to maintain a cordial relationship with your ex can go a long way in making co-parenting easier.
Tips that Will Help Improve Co-Parents Relationship
Several things can contribute to ensuring a cordial relationship between two people sharing the responsibility of raising a child. The following tips can help make co-parenting easier:
#1. Prioritize the Child’s Wellbeing
Not all separation ends on a good note. Sometimes, the couple’s relationship may have deteriorated before they decide to go their separate ways. However, regardless of the case, parents must always put the child’s best interests before their feelings.
It may not be convenient having to see the other party from time to time or even consulting them before making significant decisions that may affect the child. However, when the parents focus on what is best for the child, they will be willing to put that into perspective before making any decision. All interactions with the co-parent should therefore be well thought out and non-hostile as this will help provide a stable environment for the child’s development.
#2. Work on Your Communication Skills
An essential skill for co-parenting is healthy and effective communication. While communicating with each other, it is crucial to remember that you are on the same team, working towards one goal – the child’s wellbeing.
Disagreements may be inevitable. However, it will serve the child to see their parents problem-solving together versus engaging in heated conversations.
Parents should use their discretion when scheduling difficult conversations. It is beneficial to honor everyone’s time and allow each party the necessary time and space. If a difficult discussion occurs in the child’s presence, it is vital to exercise the highest degree of caution.
#3. Maintain Reasonable Boundaries
While it is crucial to maintain contact for the child’s sake, boundaries must also be established to give the parents the space they need. It is essential to discuss how often visitation and calls should be scheduled, doing your best to remember that everyone has a different schedule and timeline.
Frequent communication is not always beneficial, and it can lead to ineffective communication between the parents and jeopardize their chances of raising the child in a relatively stable environment.
#4. Create Room for Flexibility
Stability and consistency are vital in creating a conducive environment for the child to thrive. However, the parents must also give room for flexibility when it is required.
For instance, it may be necessary to switch visitation days to accommodate the other party’s schedule where required. As much as establishing rules is essential, individuals co-parenting should try and accommodate each other.
Having Thanksgiving dinner or even attending school functions together may be necessary. This does not, however, mean the neglect of established rules. Instead, rules should be adhered to while creating room for adjustments where necessary.
#5. Make it Easy for Your Co-parent to Access You
Co-parenting is a form of partnership; often, critical decisions will have to be made on behalf of the child. When the co-parent calls or sends a text, respond to them when you are available and in a neutral mindset. Making it easy for your co-parent to access you when necessary helps to create less tension and improves the relationship with time.
#6. Avoid Speaking Bad About the Other Parent
Co-parents are making an effort to share parenting responsibilities because of the child. Hard feelings may arise from time to time, and you may be tempted to bad-mouth the other parent. However, avoiding negative things about the other parent is ideal, especially in the child’s presence.
Your child will emulate every attitude you exhibit. Remember that whatever you do will invariably reflect on your child’s self-image. Knowing this will help you maintain a high degree of composure even when you feel like criticizing the other co-parent.
Also, if you are the one on the receiving end of the criticisms, it is essential to maintain your composure. The reason is that children are sensitive and can decide which parent is kind and reliable by how they interact.
#7. Cultivate Fairness in the Relationship
Each parent’s time with the child is essential and should be maximized since it is typically limited. You may want to spend time with the child but realize that the co-parent has scheduled some extracurricular activities that may rob you of the opportunity of spending time with the child.
It is important to remember that the focus is on what is best for the child. Although spending time with the child is essential, you may discover that engaging in other activities at the time may be more fulfilling for the child.
So, most times, co-parents may not have the opportunity to spend equal time with the child. Instead of getting upset about such a situation, find a way to support and cheer the child on.
#8. Never Get the Child Involved in Adult Decision
Some co-parents may get the child involved in making some adult decisions. As much as children should have a say in minor decisions, co-parents should avoid making them a part of effective decision-making processes like what school to attend and where to live. Doing so can cause a strain on their relationship with the other co-parent.
Learning to communicate effectively with a co-parent is a worthwhile investment you can make for your child as it has the potential to pay off in the long term. It will take a lot of discipline and sacrifice on the part of the parent to cultivate this communication skill but mastering it will create a healthier environment for the child.