Ways to Manage a Successful Co-Parenting Relationship
As most people who’ve been through a divorce with children will tell you, the things you loathed about your spouse will be magnified once you are forced to co-parent with him/her. The reasons that your marriage didn’t work will be more defined and heightened, and the smallest things can be grounds for all out war.
Here are a few of the techniques that use to manage a successful co-parenting relationship with my ex:
- Follow the rules and consequences of the primary house. In most situations, children are with the primary parent 80% of the time. They get confused when there are two different sets of rules. Children need to know that BOTH parents are on the same page. Otherwise, they will take advantage of the loopholes. It doesn’t make them bad kids; it makes them human.
- Don’t text with your ex. Texting is too intimate for two people who no longer have an intimate relationship. Use e-mail and talk on the phone only when necessary. Even if you have a great relationship with your ex, there is a possibility that things could turn ugly. That’s why it’s important to keep all communication as formal as possible.
- Get involved with school and extra curricular activities. Get on e-mail lists, print out the calendars, and know what is going on in your children’s day-to-day lives. Don’t rely on your ex to do it for you; it’s not their job.
- Don’t be sneaky. Going behind your ex’s back to do something for your child sets a horrible example. If you have disregard for your ex and show that to your children, you are giving them permission to do the same thing. These consequences may not be seen when they are 6 or 7, but wait until they are 16 or 17. Those lessons can’t be undone.
- Never make your children choose. It’s beyond awful to make them choose between the two of you. If your ex does this, be the bigger person and don’t. Your children will thank you for it when they are older.
I hope that some of these points that I’ve outlined are things that you are already doing, or will think about doing in the future. Children deserve to have the best childhood possible, and that includes two parents who work with each other, not against each other. Visit my blog for my complete listing of Ways to Manage a Successful Co-Parenting Relationship.
Jennifer Evers the writer of a lifestyle blog, “Me, Myself and Jen.” She is a social media specialist, providing social media marketing, training, and event promotion through her consulting business, MM& J Consulting. She adores traveling herself as well as planning trips for others. Jennifer lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her family.
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Kids Suffer When Both Parents Aren’t Aligned
My parents divorced when I was about 4-years old and I didn’t see my father for several years. Although it wasn’t the best situation for our family, we managed to live a fairly happy life. Then one day, when I was 11-years old, I heard a knock on the door. I opened it to see my father.
“Hello, Frederick,” he said. “How are you doing?’ I stood there with a puzzled look on my face because I couldn’t believe that he had returned after being away for so long. My mom rushed to the door and told me to go to my room. I walked away, but I could hear her asking him why he was here. As a little boy who missed his dad, I didn’t care. I was just glad that he was finally back in our lives.
Unfortunately, that joy turned to disappointment. My father made promises to see us and take us places that he never kept. He didn’t call on birthdays and he seemed to disappear on holidays.
My mother tried not to say bad things about my father because she knew I still loved him, but she hated to see how his irresponsible behavior was affecting me. My mom finally confronted him and he agreed to do better. And he did. However, it only lasted for a few years and then he was gone again.
As an adult, I can look back on my childhood years and see how difficult divorce can be on everyone involved. Even today, I watch as many of my divorced relatives and friends struggle with co-parenting. The advice that I give to my divorced friends is, “Regardless of your relationship with your ex, always care for your children. Their well-being is more important than anything else. Don’t bad-mouth your ex because they are still your child’s parent. Your kids need to see that both of you have their best interests in mind.” I preface this statement by admitting that I’m not divorced and I cannot fully understand their struggles, but I grew up in a broken family and I can still recall the pain I felt as a child in that situation. Divorce ends a marriage, but it doesn’t end your responsibility to your children.
Question: Do you have any advice to share on co-parenting or dealing with divorce.