4 Simple Ways to Make the Best of Co-Parenting
Co-parenting after divorce is stressful on many levels. Paired with the challenging legal aspects of a divorce, it can be difficult to approach any new arrangement with an open heart and open mind. It may feel as though circumstances are actively working to upset your sense of comfort and control.
Scheduling, finances, and heightened emotions can all make co-parenting undeniably complicated. But enduring a state of heightened stress and conflict benefits no one. Neither you nor your children can adjust to shared parenting if you are stuck in panic mode. Instead, combat stress by committing to making the best of your co-parenting arrangement, using these 4 tips to get you started.
Kids at the Center
Even if you choose to disregard every other tip in this list, this one should always make the cut! Keeping your kids at the center of your co-parenting efforts is the most reliable way to make the best of your shared parenting relationship. When the efforts of co-parents are focused on the health and happiness of their children, it will be simpler to approach discussions, disagreements, and interactions with a strong spirit of cooperation.
This method for making the best of co-parenting goes hand in hand with keeping your kids at the center of your communication. View your relationship with your co-parent as a partnership rather than imagining them as the opposition, and your communication can be focused on the logistics of raising children rather than being waylaid by intra-parental conflict.
If you can do so safely, assume that your co-parent has your child’s best interests at heart. Doing so won’t mean that conflict will never erupt or personalities will never clash. You’re both human, after all, and no partnership is without its trials. Nevertheless, knowing that you and your co-parent are working together toward the same shared goal makes open and honest communication that much easier.
Check Your Ego
This tip may sound simple, but we know it can be far from easy. The ability to check your ego when communicating about your children has the potential to make or break shared parenting. When parents put their own emotional needs ahead of their children, shared parenting can quickly devolve into tit-for-tat arrangements surrounded by an atmosphere of distrust and disrespect.
The tricky part is identifying when your own ego is forcing its way into the center of your efforts (and pushing your kids out in the process). Honesty plays a big part in healthy co-parenting relationships, and that includes honesty about your own motivations and actions.
If you’ve ever waited until the night before a deadline to begin an assignment, you’re probably familiar with the unpleasantness of procrastination. When it comes to co-parenting, kicking the can down the road by avoiding tough discussions only adds more strife to an already stressful situation.
Avoiding conflict isn’t the same as solving it, so get in the habit of tackling the tough stuff from the very beginning of your co-parenting relationship. Devote time and attention to your parenting plan, and when arrangements aren’t working, address them immediately rather than allowing tension to mount.
These 4 tips may be simple, but we know that does not guarantee that they are easy. The sooner you can implement them, however, the faster you and your co-parent will build healthy habits in your communication. Co-parenting may be complicated, but by tending to your fundamentals, you’ll give yourself the resilience to handle anything.