Finding yourself in a position where you have to call yourself a co-parent is rarely an ideal thing, but it may be a necessary step for your wellbeing and long-term relationship with the co-parent and your children. A lot of feelings will be flying around, and they’re tricky to navigate. It is understandable if you find yourself having trouble with the concept.
If you are looking for a few tips on easing co-parenting, take a look at the guide below for ideas to help an amicable co-parenting relationship.
There is a lot to navigate when you have kids. They have school, activities, social events, and they usually have to navigate all that around your job or other commitments. To throw another parent in the mix, who wants to do their own thing with their children, take them to their own social events and activities, can be a bit messy and leave you with internal angst and worries.
The simplest solution here is an online calendar. Make sure to turn on notifications so that you are informed when there is a change made. You can look into co-parenting calendar apps that allow for a chatroom so that you can request a change with minimal effort. planning routines and dates for holidays in advance and agreeing on what happens if children, or yourselves, are unwell is also an important step to make things run smoother.
Keep your negative opinions of your co-parent, or anyone around the co-parent like family or girlfriends, to yourself. Your children don’t need to hear it. Use that emotional intelligence to be a better person and give others the chance to reflect on their own action before considering a discussion about a hard topic.
At best you will simply traumatize your children for being stuck in the middle, and at worst you’ll end up pushing your children away, whether it’s due to your negative comments being seen as a form of manipulation, or your child will end up sympathizing with the other co-parent.
Vent to anyone else. It’s healthy to do so, but don’t put that on your children.
Make sure you know what your rights are. You have the right, for example, to talk to a lawyer for legal advice for child custody, or any other aspect of co-parenting that is bothering you, without elevating any issues.
If a dispute should arise, as it is likely to, you will be ready with your information and hopefully able to solve the problem without any more stress. But should you be pushed to, you will have a family lawyer lined up to handle your situation appropriately and fairly.
Stay in communication
A healthy and amicable co-parenting relationship is built on communication. Keep the other parent informed on what is going on in the child’s life, whether it’s about short-term plans or long-term.
Keep them up to date on school, activities, holidays, events, etc. You’ll both be better at navigating plans for the future.
Again, this is where the brilliance of the digital age comes in. If you’re not a fan of getting too physically close to your co-parent, shoot them the odd message, making it clear it’s an update and you will subconsciously tell them that it isn’t the invite for a friendly catch-up about how good the old days were.
Stay within your boundaries
In saying that, keep a respectful distance from your co-parent. There are things in their life that is no longer any of your business, and vice versa. Lead by example and keep your thoughts on their business to yourself and hopefully, they will do the same.
For example, you no longer have any say in their love life, their career prospects, or their bigger plans for the future. As long as your children are safe, there is no need for you to comment unless it is positive and helps build a more successful and calm co-parenting future. Avoid reading between the lines in texts and messages.
Again, vent to a friend if you need to, but do not voice your opinions in front of your children. They have no qualms about repeating it to the other co-parent, and if your co-parent was talking about your life, you’d probably hear about it too, and not appreciate it. These situations will never be easy, but hopefully, with your children central in all you do, two adults should be able to work together to find the right balance of care and nurture as time passes.