Working with your child’s other parent to co-parent your kids is the best thing you can do for them. Dealing with parenting issues after divorce can sometimes seem impossible, especially if you’re dealing with a problem ex who cannot move on. However, there are ways that you can ensure that you are doing the best you can to encourage co-parenting and raise your child in a loving and safe environment.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
The type of communication you need with your co-parent is more like a business than a family. However, it will help keep things a lot happier and lighter if you set a business-like tone when it comes to your relationship with your ex. Stay calm, talk slowly, and don’t assign feelings to someone else. If it’s hard to talk, set up a family calendar online that each has access to. Then everyone can enter relevant information and dates easily.
Don’t Be Negative about Your Ex
Never act negatively about your ex in front of the kids. Yes, you do need someone to talk to but leave it in counseling or with your best friend. Never, ever let your children hear you say bad things about their other parent. They will either defend them or they’ll protect you, and both are damaging.
Don’t Be Negative around Your Ex
When it comes to having to be around your ex, that can be difficult and emotional. Pretend you’re handling customer service at your favorite store and don’t act moody or negative around your ex while the kids are there. Be polite, courteous, and even happy to help make everyone comfortable. Also, if they act incorrectly, remember you can only control yourself.
Make It Simple for Both Parents to Be Involved
Don’t make it hard for the other parent to be involved. Even if they don’t do things the way you want them to, it’s not your place to tell them what’s important about their parenting. It’s one thing if you’re dealing with someone who is an abuser, but if you’re not, and they’re 15 minutes late for pickup, don’t make it an issue. Be flexible and put the kids first.
Worry about Your House Not Theirs
It can be a big wake-up call for divorced parents when they note that their ex-spouse has changed some of their values. For example, if your ex is now cohabitating with someone and you disagree with it on moral grounds, you should keep that to yourself. It’s none of your business. The courts, for the most part, also do not care. It’s their house, not yours.
Demonstrate what you wish your children will become through your actions, not your words criticizing someone else. Same if your child eats dessert first and dinner next at the other parent’s house – that’s fine there. Let it go.
Stay Focused on Your Child’s Best Interests
The main thing you need to focus on is what is best in the long term for the child. That can sometimes put you in a position of thinking you need to correct the other parent, but don’t do this unless activities are going to damage them long term in some way – such as being dangerous or illegal. If your courts won’t help and they’re not in imminent danger, let it go.
Never Put Your Children in the Middle
Don’t ask your child to pass messages or decide when they’re seeing you. Stick to the agreement you made when you got a divorce, mostly to the letter when possible, but do be flexible too since life happens. Use electronics to help with communication such as a Google Mail just for divorce/parenting stuff, and a Family Google Calendar synced for the entire family to follow.
Dealing with parenting issues after divorce is very lonely for some parents. If you are not getting the type of help you need from your child’s parent, consider going to counseling with and without your ex to help with these issues.