How prepared are you to co-parent with your ex?
From sleepless nights spent walking the halls with a colicky infant to those spent waiting up for a rebellious teenager, being a parent is one of the most rewarding, yet challenging roles that an individual can hope to fulfill during his or her life. When a marriage dissolves, there’s bound to be an adjustment period. In addition to adjusting to life as a divorcee, divorced parents must also figure out how to successfully and peaceably co-parent with an ex. While every individual’s situation is unique, there are ways to make co-parenting easier and less stressful for everyone involved.
Learning how to successfully co-parent can be especially challenging in cases where parents weren’t on the same page with regard to parenting when they were married. Still, while going through and after a divorce, parents must do their best to keep the focus on their child and to engage in what are likely to be difficult conversations about parenting issues.
In addition to hashing out many of the issues that previously caused conflict between co-parents, it’s also wise to discuss and come to an agreement about how to resolve future parenting-related disputes. By ensuring that a divorce agreement includes some sort of agreed upon dispute resolution process, co-parents can hopefully avoid turning to the courts in the future to sort out custody and other arguments related to parenting.
Despite best intentions, all co-parents are likely to experience some degree of conflict with an ex. To ensure that small disagreements or misunderstandings don’t escalate to become world war III, divorced parents would be wise to look for ways to actively minimize and reduce conflict. For example, if talking to your ex face-to-face or via telephone is upsetting, resolve to only communicate via email or text message.
Additionally, attempting to control or influence the actions or parenting style of an ex can be maddening. Therefore, unless a child’s safety or health is in danger, resolving to allow an ex to exercise his or her own parenting tactics can greatly reduce stress and conflict between co-parents.
Source: Huffington Post, “10 Tips for How to Co-Parent Without Killing Your Ex!,” Karen Covy, Feb. 19, 2016