Co-parenting can be tough, especially after a contentious divorce. Keep in mind, though, that putting in the work to get along with your child’s other parent can pay dividends when it comes to raising a happy, healthy kid.
Try these tips to get past the most common issues that arise between co-parents.
Different parenting styles
When one parent has an established routine and house rules while the other parent maintains a more lax approach, conflicts can arise when children complain about the stricter household or fall behind in school when at the less structured home. Unless you can show actual detriment to your child, however, you have little to no say as to how parenting takes place in your child’s other home. However, you can agree on provisions about school work, nutrition, bedtime and other key areas and document these provisions in your legal parenting plan.
Balancing the time commitments of two parents along with extended family events, school vacations, holidays and sports and extracurriculars is challenging even when everyone lives in the same household. Get on the same page by developing a calendar that indicates where your children will be and when. A shared Google calendar lets you invite your ex to events like school plays, allowing you to foster proactive and friendly communications. Try laying out the schedule for six months to a year beginning with the new school year in September.
Lack of peaceful communication
Often, hostilities that develop during the marriage affect the co-parenting relationship, which in turn negatively affects your children. If you struggle with hurt and anger, put those feelings aside when communicating with your ex. If the other parent lashes out at you, record these types of messages and respond as calmly and neutrally as possible.
When serious conflicts arise, co-parents can turn to mediation. In addition, you can petition the court for changes to the parenting schedule or child support order if serious issues arise with custody or finances.