Navigating the divorce process is never easy but is particularly challenging when children are involved. While you no longer have romantic feelings for your ex and are likely dealing with negative emotions towards him or her, your children still love and respect their other parent. You must learn to co-parent effectively for the sake of your kids and while it will not always be easy, your kids will reap the rewards of having parents who can work together to raise them. Here are six rules for being a good co-parent.
1. Use a Mediator When Necessary
While undergoing the divorce process, use a lawyer or mediator such as those at Cordell & Cordell to help you navigate the custody arrangement. Emotions are often highest right after a divorce and you may not be able to be cordial with your ex. The Cordell & Cordell company can act as a mediator to ensure both parties are satisfied with the arrangement.
2. Create a Custody Arrangement That Satisfies Everyone
You and your ex are not the only ones affected by the agreed-upon custody arrangement. It will also have a significant impact on your kids, so they need to be satisfied with the time spent with each parent. This can usually be accomplished easily when the parents live close together but it may require extra effort or sacrifice if the parents live in different states. Do your best to ensure your kids have adequate time in both homes.
3. Learn To Communicate Effectively
Communication is vital for every relationship. If you struggle with relaying vital information about your kids to your ex, you need to find a way to do so. It may help to agree upon which types of information should be shared such as medical records, issues in school and behavioral problems. It could also be as simple as choosing an alternative method of communicating. If you struggle with sharing information in person, you may decide to reserve all non-emergency interactions to texts or emails.
4. Be Cordial
You may see your ex in a negative light, but your kids probably do not. It will upset them to hear parents speaking negatively about each other, so it is best to limit conversations about your ex if you are not speaking positively. If you need to vent, do so to someone other than your children and make sure they are not in earshot. Your kids should see that you can be cordial and polite when you do speak to your ex.
5. Give the Same Respect You Expect in Return
You probably will not like every parenting decision your ex makes. From bedtimes and curfews to discipline and permissible activities, there are a lot of decisions for each parent to make and they will not always be the same. Choose your battles wisely. When you need to speak with the other parent about a certain rule or decision, be respectful instead of confrontational. You may not get the same respect in return at first, but you cannot expect to receive it if you refuse to give it.
6. Put the Kids’ Needs First
Both parents should prioritize the health and happiness of the kids over their own. This may mean making sacrifices, keeping emotions in check and being willing to adjust custody schedules as needed. You may not always find it easy to communicate with your ex, but you must find a way to do so to keep your children happy. Focus on keeping communication strictly about the kids to ensure you do not let hurt feelings or negative emotions cloud your interactions with the other parent. Although co-parenting may feel like a minefield at times, following these rules can make the process easier.