Have you ever wondered how could you possibly co-parent with your ex? After all, you didn’t share a parenting style even when you were married…
Co-parenting provides an opportunity to prove to your children that you are still actively involved in parenting them, and that the divorce was indeed only between the adults. It is a way to solidify your parental roles, while establishing the boundaries for the post-divorce relationship with your former spouse–of only co-parenting.
Here are some tips to help improve your co-parenting relationship:
- Establish rules for desired and unacceptable behaviors.
- Choose rewards and consequences for the behaviors.
- Decide which behaviors require consequences that persist across custody changes. It will help minimize manipulation.
- Communicate monthly with each other regarding the effectiveness of your parenting plan.
- Discuss ongoing issues regarding the children on an as-needed basis.
- Express, to the children, support of one another whenever possible. Your children will benefit greatly from a united and supportive parental team.
- Include present spouses in the parental plan openly only if your former spouse can tolerate it. Otherwise, discuss the parental plan with your spouse privately. Be attentive and considerate of her/his input, and present the input to your ex.
- Consider taking a parenting class. Ideally, take it with your ex-spouse, and bring your present spouse as well, if it won’t result in conflict.
- If you are unable to agree on a parental plan with your ex, be consistent in your parenting and communicate to your children neutrally, without putting down the other household’s rules.
- Remember: let the best interest of your children guide you.
Parenting is one of life’s toughest challenges, under the best of circumstances. Co-parenting children post-divorce presents additional obstacles. Developing a mutual parenting style may help reduce the frustrations of you and your children and improve their chances for a happy childhood.