Divorce is a difficult and emotionally trying event for anyone, but parents have an especially complicated set of challenges. Not only do parents have to find ways to manage their own stress and emotional well-being, they also must consider the needs of their children and adapt appropriately based on the children’s ages and circumstances.
Following a divorce, the ideal situation is one in which both ex-spouses are active co-parents and find ways to harmoniously raise their children despite the divorce. This does not come easy, however, and those who do it well often have several factors in common. Here are three tips to help you find your way to a successful co-parenting situation with your ex after divorce:
1. Be flexible
Although this is good general advice for many of life’s challenges, being flexible is especially important when it comes to co-parenting. If you are constantly so rigid in your schedule or rules that you cannot allow for any unplanned occurrences or special events, your children may suffer from missed time with the other parent. In addition, an inability to negotiate with your ex about parenting can lead to increased conflict that will likely negatively affect your children.
2. Be open to change
This is similar to the advice of being flexible, but it applies to bigger situations than just a scheduling conflict or temporary change. If major life changes occur in your life or that of your ex, or you are contemplating a significant change such as relocation, remember that you can seek modifications to your parenting plan or court order. If your ex does not agree to your proposed changes, you will likely need to seek approval from the court.
3. Keep emotional backlash out of parenting
Although you may be livid with your ex, you should strive to keep your anger in check as you navigate the co-parenting situation. Remind yourself that your issues with your ex are not your children’s issues, and your children should not have to pay the price for your personal grievances. Maintain an honest but positive approach when it comes to talking about your ex with your children, so that you can keep your co-parenting situation cordial and civil.