4 Tips on How to Co-Parent Your Children with Your Ex-Partner

Figuring out how to co-parent is one of the most challenging things about divorce. It’s a complex matter further complicated by the high emotions and feelings of all parties involved. That’s why we’ve put together a few tips for learning how to co-parent effectively and keep your family happy and feeling united.

Prioritize The Well-Being of Your Kids

First and foremost, your kids are the priority. That means you have to put aside all bitterness, anger, resentment, heartbreak, etc., you are harboring against your ex and do what’s right for your kiddos. Say the custody arrangement has dad with the kids every weekend. But, he calls on Tuesday night to say he just scored tickets to a baseball game on Wednesday and wants to take the kids. Despite any personal feelings or any feelings of wanting to keep the kids to yourself— do what’s right.

You should be willing to deviate from the schedule once in a while as long as it is for the greater good of your kids. Remember, consider what your kids want first and what would make them the happiest.

how to co-parent - father and son

Show Up for Your Kids

As you’ve likely gathered by now, success in how to co-parent is about putting all of your differences aside and showing up to support your little ones. Showing up often means attending events with your ex in attendance like sporting events, graduations, and even some holidays. You may not be excited to spend time with your ex, but creating a deep division where mom and dad can never do things together will make the divorce much harder on your kids. These sacrifices show your kids that their family unit, though different, is still united and helps them feel much more supported as they navigate the split.

Communicate With Your Ex

You may wish to never speak to your ex again. But, the truth is, when you have kids together— the communication lines must remain open. How to co-parent effectively requires you to communicate cordially and regularly with your ex. Communication with your ex means talking openly about any challenges and issues involving your kid(s), and not venting or blaming the other parent for the struggles. This is not the time to air your grievances with your ex—those issues can be vented about/worked out with your best friend, therapist, mom, etc.

It’s important that you never make your child the go-between and that you and your ex communicate about pertinent matters in a respectful way. That is your job as the parent, after all, not the job of your children. Which leads us to…

Never Put Your Kids in the Middle of a Dispute

how to co-parent

If your divorce involved hurt feelings, bad behavior, and pain—like so many do, you can’t just instantly forget about it because the divorce papers are signed, especially if your ex is being unreasonable at any point during the co-parenting journey. It’s okay to be angry at your ex, whether it’s for past or current behavior. But, it is never okay to disparage or degrade your ex-partner in front of your kids. Nor should you make your kids feel like they must choose a side.

Instead, if your ex is acting unreasonably or inappropriately, seek professional help and guidance. An experienced attorney, mediator, or counselor will help you work through the situation in a way that does get the kids involved or placed in between their mom and dad.

When you’re figuring out how to co-parent, just remember first and foremost to put the needs and desires of your children first.

Remain calm, cool, and collected when communicating with your ex—electronically and in person. And remember, should any of your ex’s behaviors upset you or violate your custody agreement, leave it up to the pros to handle.

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