Sharing custody with your ex is not easy, but for the sake of your children and your mental health, you need it to be as amicable as possible. If this feels daunting, there are tips that may help you succeed.
According to Today’s Parent, to co-parent effectively, you need to have a plan in place that includes an agreement on a code of conduct where the kids are involved.
Think like a professional
Do not think of your children’s other parent as your ex, but as a colleague. Would you insult, argue or disrespect your colleague? It may be difficult to separate your feelings, but the more professional you act, the more likely you are to have an amicable relationship.
If you have difficulty talking in person or over the phone, choose email or text for most of your conversations. When you talk through text, you have more time to think critically about your responses and remain calm.
Empathize with your children
Children benefit when their parents work together to co-parent. Never fight in front of your children or use them as messengers between you and your ex. Children need agency. Do not try to force them to keep toys or belongings at one parent’s house versus the other. Likewise, do not expect children to have the same rules at both homes. You and your spouse should discuss important values but agree to disagree on the little things.
If you want to co-parent successfully, you and your spouse should lay down plans to talk about parenting issues, visiting schedules and backup plans in the case of emergencies or sudden changes.