The marriage has ended, but you must still interact with your ex when raising children together. Co-parenting can be the cause for major conflict after divorce, but remember that every fight over your kids adds to your children’s suffering. Learn how to avoid co-parenting conflict with these tips.
Follow the golden rule
Be kind to your ex, even if you are still coping with the pain of divorce. Try to remember that you’ll see him or her when your children graduate from high school or college, get married, or have kids of their own. If things get ugly, these future occasions can be emotionally fraught for all. When you can be civil and nice to each other, everyone benefits.
What if your ex constantly badmouths you? Take the high road and be nice. Your children will be able to see who is behaving badly, and they’ll appreciate your positive attitude.
Don’t use the kids to deliver information
It can be tempting to tell your child something to tell their Mom or Dad. But all too often, kids don’t really hear or understand the message and wires get crossed. Worse still, if the child delivers a message and you blow up emotionally, they get hurt in the crossfire.
If your ex uses your kid to “send you a message,” thank your child for letting you know. Then call the ex privately and let them know to deal with you the next time around.
Don’t call or text when they’re with the ex
It’s natural to miss your kids when they’re not with you, but calling or texting is disrespectful of your custody arrangement. It can cause tension with your ex, especially if they’ve started dating again.
Let your children have time with their other parent, then ask them about it when they get home. Show (or fake, if you need to) an interest in their time with your ex. Remember, he or she is still their parent too. If you act like you don’t want to hear about the kids’ time at their other parent’s house, they may stop sharing important things with you.
Recharge when you’re off duty
Divorce, dating after being married, being a single parent -it’s all stressful. Use your off-duty time to unwind and recharge.
While these strategies can help you avoid most co-parenting conflicts, sometimes things can’t be smoothed over. If things are getting ugly, call your divorce attorney. It may be in your children’s best interests to revisit issues around child custody.