Let's face it, while incredibly rewarding, parenting also comes with many challenges. For parents who are divorced or separated and who share child custody and parenting responsibilities, these challenges are often compounded by communication problems and a general failure on the part of parents to come together and get on the same page.
Even under the best of circumstances, parenting is difficult and co-parents must work even harder to ensure that they are providing their children with the love, support, boundaries and consistency they need to be happy and thrive. The following are three things that co-parents can commit to doing to improve their relationship with each other and, most importantly, their children's lives.
3 Tips For Successful Co-Parenting
- Let go of the past - There's a reason, likely many, why you and your ex are no longer together. However, there's also one big reason why you need to find a way to move beyond the issues that led you and your ex to split-your children. Commit to setting aside your differences and focus on the one common goal you now share- raising your children.
- Put your children first - When interacting with your ex, before you say or do anything, always consider if your words or actions will benefit your children. If the answer is no, pause and work to change your approach. At all times, you must put your children and their best interests first.
- Learn to communicate - You and your ex may have a long history of poor communication. However, after a split, you must find a way to communicate effectively for the sake of your children. Often keeping communications with your ex brief, direct and business-like is most effective. It's also advisable to communicate via text or email so both parties can, if necessary, refer to past communications.
For better or worse, you as a co-parent are forever bound to your ex by your children. While it won't always be easy, keeping these three tips in mind can make your experience and journey as a co-parent more productive and less turbulent.
In cases where you and your ex experience significant challenges that you are not able to overcome, it's wise to reach out to an attorney for help. A family law attorney who handles child custody matters can assist in taking legal action to modify or enforce an existing custody order.