Raising your children with your ex-spouse will require some effort and patience. After all, the dynamic of your relationship is completely different now that you are no longer married. However, you still have one interest in common and that is the wellbeing and happiness of your children. Therefore, you must both unite on this common interest and set aside your differences to raise them in a nurturing and healthy environment.
We compiled a list of tips that will help you co-parent with your former spouse in the aftermath of your divorce:
- Put the needs of your children before your own: This is a given that every parent understands, but it can be difficult to put into practice if you have a lot of unresolved issues and feelings of anger toward your ex-spouse. Setting these feelings and problems aside, however, is essential for a successful co-parenting relationship, however. Your marriage is over, so there is no reason to rehash the past or get caught up in an argument over the events that led to your divorce. Leave the past where it belongs and focus on what your children need. Of course, no one is suggesting you bottle up your emotions, but it is certainly not helpful to vent to your children or to engage in arguments with your ex. Instead, talk to a friend or consider seeing a therapist.
- Work on your ability to communicate: Communication can be a difficult thing for divorced parents since, in all likelihood, poor communication might have been a contributing factor in your divorce. For the benefit of your children, it is imperative that you work on these skills and learn to communicate as a co-parent. Find out which methods are most suitable for you. Not every conversation needs to happen in person. For some, emails or text messages work best. You might also want to consider using a tone similar to what you would use at work to avoid getting too personal or veering off track.
- Remember to work as a team: Just because you are no longer married does not mean you lost your team status. You are a team of parents and you want to see your children grow up happy and healthy. Try to coordinate on household rules, so your children have the same expectations no matter whose home they are in. If one of you allows them to watch TV before homework is completed, this can present a problem and cause conflict. Your rules do not have to be identical, but they should not leave one parent with the short end of the stick. Support each other and create a stable and consistent environment for your kids.
- Make visits easier: When a parent picks up their children from the other parent’s home, it can feel a bit like they are being taken away. To avoid this, parents should drop off the children instead of having the other pick the kids up. Additionally, parents should avoid dramatic or tearful goodbyes since this will only make the children feel guilty about the time they are spending with their other parent.
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