15 Strategies For Successful Co-Parenting After A Divorce

15 Strategies For Successful Co-Parenting After A Divorce

Divorce or separation is never easy. When you have kids, you can’t just walk out of each other’s lives forever — you have to keep working together to raise your children and give them a happy, secure upbringing. Challenging as it may be, it’s possible to co-parent successfully without constant fighting. Here are some strategies you can use to achieve this.

1. Come up with a parenting plan.

As PsychCentral notes, how you co-parent will continue to affect your children just as your pre-divorce relationship did. Going with the flow is not a plan. It’s only going to breed confusion, disappointment, and plenty of arguments. You and your ex need to sit down and develop a parenting plan that outlines your parental rules, expectations, boundaries, communication methods, and every other detail that’s relevant for navigating your new arrangement peacefully. Decide how you’ll handle handovers, requests for custody schedule modifications, and child discipline.

2. Be willing to compromise.

It doesn’t have to be your way or the highway. Although it may feel like conceding to your co-parent is losing, you need to remember that what’s at stake is your kids’ happiness and stability. The divorce proceedings have been concluded, so there’s no winning or losing anymore. Instead of shutting down requests from the other parent, you can talk things through and try to arrive at a decision that works for everyone.

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3. Practice open and respectful communication.

Parents and daughter quarrel in home

You might hate your ex’s guts. You might even want to tear their face off every time they open their mouths, but you can’t let that show, especially not in front of your kids. When you have to communicate with your ex, remember that you’re doing it for your child and resolve to remain polite and respectful.

4. Try not to sweat the small stuff.

So what if your ex gives your child a snack before bed and you have a no snack after dinner rule? Does it really matter that they let the kids have an extra 30 minutes of TV time? The key to successful co-parenting is picking your battles and letting the little things go, Huffington Post advises. Save your energy for important issues like medical decisions, internet restrictions, religious upbringing, or what school they should attend.

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5. Prioritize your children’s needs.

Strive to do what’s best for your children, even if it’s not your instinct in the moment. You have to be willing to set aside any issues you may have with your ex to make the kids happy. This could mean sitting down to have dinner at a special event, even if you can’t stand your ex’s presence. It could even be swapping places because it might be more meaningful for the kids to share an experience with the other parent rather than you.

6. Collaborate on important decisions.

Carry your co-parent along when it comes to the important things related to your child’s welfare. If you’re reluctant to meet up to share updates or discuss issues before making decisions, consider using messaging channels like emails, Telegram, and WhatsApp to communicate and ensure you’re on the same page when it comes to the big stuff.

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7. Keep your kids out of your issues.

Portrait of unhappy cute little girl sadness looking away sitting on bed during parents quarrelling and fighting in living room on background. Concept of family problems, conflict, crisis.

Dragging the kids into the middle of your squabbles with your ex is a huge no-no. No matter how furious you are, don’t give in to the temptation to badmouth the other or get into a screaming match with them in the presence of the kids. Wait until you get behind closed doors or out of earshot to vent your frustrations.

8. Stay flexible, even if it inconveniences you sometimes.

Maybe you were supposed to get the kids an hour ago but you took them to go swimming so they haven’t been dropped off yet. Maybe it’s your turn to get them on Saturday but they have a recital scheduled for that weekend. You may feel cheated or think your ex is intentionally trying to cut into your time when all they’re doing is fulfilling your child’s desires. So rather than getting mad and acting out, go with what’s best for your child.

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9. Avoid overreacting to situations.

Although your wounds may still feel raw, especially if the divorce is fresh or came about through no fault of your own, try not to let that color the way you view your ex’s actions or inactions. You don’t have to create a scene because they didn’t follow your parenting instructions or because they showed up late to the drop-off for the third time. Keep your cool while communicating your frustrations.

10. Respect each other’s parenting styles.

It’s not realistic to expect your co-parent to handle situations involving the children exactly the way you would. You’re different people with different ways of thinking and dealing with things, or even a different set of house rules. Instead of trying to force your parenting styles on each other, agree on the core values, but leave it up to each parent to manage the day-to-day of childcare as they see fit as long as it doesn’t result in harm to the kids.

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11. Work on moving on from the past.

Co-parenting will go a lot easier if you’re not carrying around a mountain of anger for your ex. You have to let go of the hurt you feel because of the disintegration of the marriage, even if you feel justified in it. That chapter of your life is over. Stop holding on to it and focus on the present. You have to build a new relationship now that’s centered around raising your children the best way you can.

12. Schedule regular co-parenting meetings.

Since you no longer live in the same house, you can’t discuss child-related things with the other parent over breakfast or as you prepare for bed. So it’s important to set up meetings from time to time where you can sit to discuss the children’s needs, concerns you might have, or recent happenings and upcoming events that concern them.

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13. Keep handoffs short and friendly.

When you meet up to pick up or drop off the children, keep the exchange brief and sweet. Exchange quick pleasantries and save any drama for some other time. That is not the time or place to bring up delicate matters. Save the serious discussions for another day when you can both give the conversation the patience and sensitivity it demands.

14. Maintain consistency

If you have a timeshare arrangement for custody, stick with it as much as possible. If something is going to disrupt the predetermined schedule, try to plan for it in advance so everyone is prepared. Keeping to the schedule you set will allow you and your co-parent to manage your time effectively. Best of all, consistency will instill a sense of stability and trust in your children as they navigate the new family dynamic.

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15. Navigate relationships with new partners with wisdom and sensitivity.

Eventually, you and your ex are going to start exploring the world of dating as a single parent, so you need to discuss how you’ll integrate the new partners into your children’s lives. It’s Best to avoid involving the new partner in any child-raising decisions until they have a secure footing in the family structure. They shouldn’t be allowed to discuss issues concerning the children with the other co-parent to avoid unnecessary tension.

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