Tips for making co-parenting easier on your child
As a parent facing a separation or divorce, your biggest concern is probably how it will affect your child. Although divorce can be difficult for the entire family, joint custody can be healthy for your child. Experts agree that you and your ex can do many things to ease the transitions and provide a happy, loving situation for your child. The following tips may make co-parenting easier for you and your child:
Focus on the children
Remember that this process is not about your hurt and anger. This is only about the kids. You may still have negative feelings about your ex, but that is what your friends, family and therapist are for. Never put your children in the middle of a conflict between you and your ex, or even ask them to act as a go-between to deliver messages or schedule changes.
Use positive communication
Keep interactions polite, focused and friendly. Think of your ex as a colleague in the business of raising your children. Decide what communication method works best for both of you and stick to that. Remember to make a request rather than a demand when asking for things or suggesting changes. Never underestimate how much even young children can pick up on tone and negative body language. Show that you support your ex and want them to have a close, loving relationship with your child.
Consistency is key
Your child has gone through a lot of upheavals recently, and the best way to make them feel safe is to provide a stable and consistent environment. Stick to the schedule and help your child prepare to transition to the other parent’s house in a positive way. Although you may not have the exact same rules and schedules between your homes, try for similarity so your child knows what to expect.
Make important decisions together
One of you may be the go-to parent for the school or doctor’s office, but when important decisions arise, you should work together. In fact, your custody order may require it. Keeping communication open, honest and child-focused will help. Remember that your ex is an important person in your child’s life and should be included in decisions. You will not always agree, and that is okay. Talk through your differences with respect and learn to compromise.
When will co-parenting not work?
Though most separating California couples can and will be expected to co-parent, there are certain situations when co-parenting is not the right answer. If your relationship involves domestic violence or substance abuse, co-parenting may be either unsafe or unsuccessful or both.