Co-parenting after a divorce can be tricky to say the least, and this can be even truer if you do not have a good, or at least neutral, relationship with your ex-partner. However, it is vital if you want your child’s life to remain stable and happy as you go through this difficult time.
Needless to say, this can be easier said than done.
For example, how can you be expected to remain calm, collected, and consistent for your children when faced with a difficult and demanding ex?
Rest assured that even the most toxic relationship can be turned around in order to create a healthy and effective co-parenting correspondence.
Put aside any anger or hurt
No-one is saying that you can’t be angry or feel hurt, but when it comes to your child, you need to put these feelings to one side at least temporarily. It is best for your child to see you behaving in a polite and pleasant manner with your ex so that they are not influenced by your negative emotions.
Top tip: If you feel like your anger is taking over, take a look at your child, and remember what is at stake – their long-term happiness. Staying child-focused is the best way to calm yourself in a particularly stressful situation.
Focus on positive communication
You may have a million and one insults circling around your brain just waiting to come out in a torrent of abuse when you see your ex, but this type of behaviour will only have negative consequences for your child. Instead, try and make your child the focal point of every conversation that you have with your ex, making a conscious effort to listen to what they are saying and making requests instead of demands.
Top tip: If seeing your ex in person is too difficult at first, communicate over the phone or by email instead.
Make decisions together
Being a parent is tough enough, having to juggle work, school, and appointments, but throw an ex-partner into the mix, and even the simplest of tasks can turn into a nightmare. It can be easy to fall into the trap of having two completely different parenting styles with conflicting guidelines and boundaries. This is very confusing for your child and can lead to rebellious behaviour. Instead, make sure that you are on the same page when it comes to parenting, and make important decisions together rather than separately.
Top tip: Make routine tasks, such as to order dental supplies, easier by having a joint, online calendar that both you and your ex-partner can see and update and by ordering things online, such as from retailers like Kent Express, who offer a next day delivery service.
Try and be flexible
You may have struggled to compromise with your ex-partner when you were together, but it is an essential skill that you will need to master now that you are separated. Trying to successfully coordinate two separate lives and schedules can be a challenge, and plans are bound to go wrong occasionally, but the key to overcoming these obstacles is in being both flexible and forgiving. Otherwise, you will drive yourself mad with frustration and most likely resort back to feeling angry and resentful.
Top tip: Choose your battles – if you ex has let you or your child down due to illness or another unforeseeable circumstance, then you may choose to let it go. However, if they are consistently cancelling at the last minute, you may need to intervene.
Follow these tips, and you will be well on your way to a great co-parenting relationship and maybe even a happy divorce.
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