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How to make joint parenting work for everyone

You and your spouse recently split and the divorce went about as well as it could have. You both arranged a good custody plan. Your kids seem to be adjusting to the changes and your family dynamic is slowly moving back toward feeling somewhat normal.

However, co-parenting does not often come easy for families. There are many challenges to trying to create a stable family life when your kids’ time is divided. Both you and your ex want your kids to have the best experience possible but you may still be unsure how to make this happen.

Here are a few tips for successful co-parenting:

  • Honor your commitments – Make sure you keep your promises both with your ex and with your kids. For example, if you pledged to be somewhere for a pick up or drop off, it is important you are there when you said you would be. Honoring your commitments helps create stability for your children and a good working relationship with your ex.
  • Focus on the kids – Though you may still have ill feelings toward your ex after the divorce, you should not let your emotions get in the way of parenting. Make sure your discussions with your ex and your time with your children focus on your kids and their needs rather than any leftover negative emotions you have for your ex.
  • Stay on the same page – Part of co-parenting means agreeing with your ex as best you can. You should try to keep your parenting styles as consistent with your child’s other parent as you can. Try to follow similar methods of discipline and maintain relatively similar schedules so everything is consistent for your kids. You should also do your best to make major decisions with your ex, rather than on your own. Education, finances and medical issues should be resolved together.
  • Keep communication open – Talking to your ex will be necessary during this process if you want co-parenting to be successful. Good listening is also essential in open communication and can create a more respectful relationship between you and your ex.
  • Make transitions as smooth as possible – Living in two different homes can be confusing for your kids so you should work to make the transitions between the two as smooth as possible. Help them pack their bags and anticipate their schedules. Giving your children space and a calm environment can also help the transitions between the two situations.

Divorce is not easy, especially when there are kids involved and co-parenting is a challenge but there are ways you can make it easier on you and your kids. Joint parenting is a team effort and will require you to work with your ex. It may be difficult but it is worth it to make your kids’ lives easier.

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