Sustaining a cordial relationship with your ex can be challenging if there is shared custody of your child involved in the mix. For the well-being of the child, it is essential that you keep your separation woes separate from parenting. Let’s learn about some co-parenting tips that could help you as a parent focus on your kid despite everything else.
Why is co-parenting Necessary
Though the number of divorce rates is growing in large numbers, it is now evident that kids with a loving co-parenting set-up grow up to be emotionally and psychologically healthy. However, it is undeniable that separation from a parent can be traumatizing for children. There has been evidence to show aggression, depression, and extreme sadness among children following a divorce. But if the parents set aside their own hurt feelings and focus on being good parents, kids will thrive well. In fact, it has been found that there are positive developments too in children living with single parents (co-parenting), whereas grave issues in living with parents who fight in front of kids.
Friendly Relations with Ex
According to research quoted in Parents.com, around 59% to 65% of people remain friends even after a divorce or separation. Still, it doesn’t mean that you need to be friendly with your ex. Individuals might have their own reasons for keeping friendly relations which can include:
- Emotional and romantic feelings are still unresolved
- Security (Financial or Emotional)
- Children involved
- Formal courtesy
Can someone not be friends and still be good at co-parenting?
Absolutely! Though the implementation might not seem so easy. Keeping your anger and emotions aside and focussing on the well-being of your children can become quite stressful at times. But no co-parenting tips will work if you both don’t agree on the same goal, i.e., happiness of your children.
- It is crucial to keep a check on your hurt feelings so they don’t override your rational decision-making. Please focus on the goal and let it motivate you in every such incident.
- Talk to your friends or find a therapist to vent your feelings. It will help you settle your feelings when communicating with your ex.
- Keep a photograph or simply imagine your child’s face every time, you are running high on negative feelings and need to calm down. Breathing techniques will also help you soothe.
Whether you maintain cordial relations or not, kids need both parents’ time and attention. You both must share the same goal. Following are some of the co-parenting tips that can help you sail through this task in a better way:
- Communication. All experts have indicated open communication with your ex to be a crucial co-parenting tip. Talk just about your kids, if you can’t bear conversing a word more than that. If there are disagreements that need to be further discussed, it is better to not do it in front of the children. If you do, remember to be respectful. When children see this, they also learn to calmly communicate through disagreements.
- Be adjusting. As quoted to Oprah Daily by Jennifer Hurvitz, author of One Happy Divorce and the podcast Doing Divorce Right, a great co-parenting tip would be to love your child more than you hate your spouse. Keeping that in mind it is okay to be flexible. To let them switch days or take them along to the movies. Remember, if you do a favor, they might owe you one too.
- Don’t cut them off. Even if the mention of your ex’s name boils your blood, remember that they are still the parent of your children. Whether it is a text, call, or in-person meeting, try to respond properly if it concerns the kids.
- Stick to a schedule. A significant part of co-parenting will be chalking out how the time is divided between the parents and what routine they follow at each home. According to the AAP (American Association of Paediatrics), children thrive in consistency. So, it is beneficial for the children to follow the same routine at both homes. Whether it is bedtime, screen time, or outstation trips, both parties (mom and dad) must agree on it mutually.
The Long and Short
Separation is painful; worse is watching your kids go through it. Your determination to put your kid’s interest above everything can be shaken easily if you are not settled internally. So, the very first step should be your own healing. Take all the help you need and work on managing your hurt and resentments. Only when you keep yourself first, you will be able to focus on making your children’s well-being a priority.