Tips to co-parenting after divorce

tips for co-parenting after divorceAfter a divorce, the idea of communicating with an ex may seem near to impossible.  While dealing with that person is the last thing you feel like doing, trying to build an amicable relationship with that person is the best thing you can do for your children.   Setting your strong emotions and frustrations aside might appear to be a stressful, fruitless task, but the benefits take time to emerge.  By keeping a cool head from the start and taking the time to establish a new relationship, co-parenting will be easier in the long run.  Here are a few helpful tips to co-parenting after divorce:

  • Don’t let feelings dictate behavior.  Emotions can easily get the best of even the most rational individuals.  In contentious situations, they may dominate your actions, leaving you feeling regretful about something you said or did.  Express your emotions elsewhere before entering into a potentially heated conversation with your co-parent.   Talk with a close friend, family member or therapist about these feelings.  Remember: always keep your child away from these kinds of conversations.   They do not need to hear harsh words about either parent.   If this is a key concern in your situation, condensing your parenting correspondence to an online communication tool, like The OurFamilyWizard Website, is a great way to eliminate phone or face-to-face conversations while keeping your child away from the drama.
  • Mind your tone.  To reduce the risk of instigating conflict with your co-parent, try and keep a professional tone when corresponding face-to-face or in writing.  Think of your ex as a partner in parenting, and address them as you would address a work colleague.  Also, when you would like to ask co-parent for something, such as a trade in parenting time, actually ask them as opposed to telling them what you want.  Proposing a request instead of a demand is less threatening and more likely to be thoroughly considered by your co-parent.   To help with this, the OurFamilyWizard Message Board offers ToneMeter, which works as an emotional spell-check to analyze messages you compose and flag out any particularly negative or emotionally charged phrases, so you may examine if your tone is reflective of how you actually wish to express yourself before sending the message.
  • Stay in touch.  In order to build a more positive, working relationship with your co-parent, it is important not to ignore one another.  Make a plan to consistently stay in touch with each other about your child.  This will help you both to stay on the same page about how you are parenting your child, and it will hopefully make dealing with each other easier overall if you are used to talking.  OurFamilyWizard makes consistent communication simple by allowing parents to access their accounts online from anywhere.
  • Keep your child at the center, not in the middle.  Your child’s well-being should be your number one focus in every decision you and your co-parent make.  While it is important to keep their best interests in the center, do not put them in the middle of your issues with your ex.  You should not use your child as a middleman or messenger in your correspondence with your co-parent.  Also, do not make your child feel as though they must choose between parents.  A divorce does not mean that a child should have to lose any sense of closeness with either parent.  On OurFamilyWizard, both parents and children can use the website as a communication tool.  Every family can set up accounts for the children so that they may check what is on their schedule, and send and receive messages with parents and other family members.  While child accounts can view the Calendar and Message Board, they cannot view the Info Bank, Expense Log, or oversee messages between parents.  This creates a way for the whole family to communicate through the site without getting kids in the middle of issues they do not need to be involved in.