One of the hardest things to do after separation is to work alongside the other person, but for parents, that’s exactly what needs to happen.
Co-parenting isn’t easy, but it can be rewarding when you get it down. At first, it might feel impossible but it doesn’t have to. Here are a few tips to start co-parenting smoothly:
Be intentional with communication
Even if you think you’re on good terms with your ex, in the beginning make all communication intentional. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries, such as no phone calls past a certain time or limiting texting to strictly about your children.
This helps both of you keep parenting at the forefront of your conversations. It can also reduce the number of arguments you have while trying to figure out what works best as a co-parent.
Make consistency a priority
Don’t let the rules change wildly depending on what house your child or children are staying at. If bedtime is 9:00 at their other parent’s house, don’t set yours to 9:30 to try to one-up them. Keep dietary and discipline guidelines similar between houses.
If you’re both working off the same page, it’s easier on both of you. It also reduces the temptation for your child to play off both parents or try to leverage one’s leniency over the other.
Big decisions should be made together
Even if you want as little to do with your ex as possible, try to make big decisions together. Things like which instrument your child is going to try, what sports they can participate in or anything else that will affect both parents’ time with their kids.
By involving both parties, you can help reduce the number of conflicts you have with each other and stay on the same page with what’s going on with your child.
A work in progress
Remember that no one starts off perfect co-parents. It takes time, effort and energy to get to a comfortable place for both parents.
If you are struggling to find an approach that works for your family, a knowledgeable family law attorney may be helpful. They can go over your custody agreement to design a detailed parenting plan and work through any arguments you may be stuck on.