Divorce is hard enough to bear on its own, and adding co-parenting into the mix can often complicate matters further. Learning how to coexist with your former significant other can make all the difference in the lives of any children you share, however, so the sooner you learn to successfully co-parent, the better off your family will likely be in the long run.
So, if you are embarking on a new co-parenting relationship with your former spouse or partner, it may benefit your family if you make strides to do the following:
1. Stay flexible
Sometimes, schedules change with little notice, and the more flexible you are when your former partner needs to move things around, the more you can expect him or her to do the same for you. That way, if you want to, for example, take your child to a special sports event during what is typically the other parent’s weekend, you may be able to perform a simple weekend swap.
2. Avoid making your child your messenger
Even if the situation between you and your former partner is particularly acrimonious, avoid making your son or daughter deliver messages to your ex on your behalf. This can lead to problems if he or she misconstrues or misdelivers your message, and it can also put your child in an uncomfortable situation if the message is one he or she knows you or the other parent will not like.
3. Pick your battles
When you share a child, but you live in different homes, disagreements will inevitably arise. This can prove particularly true when you and the other parent have a complicated, emotional past. While it may be tempting to issue a fast “no” when your child’s other parent tries to change plans or arrive an hour later than scheduled, make an effort to go with the flow. Save the struggles for the stuff that really matters.
Co-parenting successfully takes time, but it can benefit your child in many ways. Try utilizing these three tips as you navigate your co-parenting relationship, and know that, by doing so, you are doing the best you can do for your child.