When two parents separate or divorce, while their relationship as a couple is over, many do morph into a new kind of relationship: that of a co-parent. For many, this means putting aside their own issues with their ex in order to do what is in the best interests of their child.
Recently, talk show host Phillip McGraw, who is best known as Dr. Phil, shared his tips for co-parenting with an ex. These tips can be used for situations where the parents are now divorced or in cases where the parents were never married.
One of the first things to do is make sure that everyone is on the same page. For some parents, this will mean sitting down and agreeing to put differences aside in order to focus on the child and meeting his or her needs. In addition, there should also be some type of agreement for visitation and how the holidays will be spent.
In terms of spending time with the child, keep in mind that even though there may be resentments between the child's other parent, these issues should not be shared with the child. Rather, make an agreement to never speak badly of each other in front of the child. This also includes not allowing the child to say bad things about his or her other parent too.
Along these same lines, a child should not be used against the other parent, or be used to find out information about what the other parent is up to. In no circumstances should a child feel like he or she is in the middle and needing to pick a side.
Of course, co-parenting may come easier for some. What is important though is that each parent is making a genuine effort to better the lives of their child or children. In cases where parents are struggling to come to agreements -- or there are serious concerns about the way a child is being raised -- contact a family law attorney.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Dr. Phil's Dos and Don'ts For Co-Parenting With Your Ex," Sept. 4, 2014