How to Co-Parent after Divorce
Co-Parenting after Divorce. Hmmm. How do you do so, and how do you do it well? It really boils down to one thing. Your kids. I hear over and over that people can't seem to co-parent after a divorce. First of all, you must realize that even if you were still married you would have had disagreements. But for some reason once people find themselves divorced it seems that every little disagreement becomes the launchpad for nuclear war.
I know that you are uncomfortable with your ex. You may even despise him or her. Unfortunately this does little for your kids. You must remember that they are watching. And you are setting an example of how to deal with conflict with every little disagreement you have. You are also putting your child in a postion of making your child feel bad that they've caused this kind of disagreement. So here are my suggested rules when co-parenting: 1. Remember it's not about you and your feelings, it's about your kids. 2. You cannot control your ex and his or her actions, so don't try. 3. You can control your own actions and reactions, so choose them carefully. 4. Choose your battles wisely. Is it a life and death issue? If not, is it really worth it? 5. Try not to have these disagreements with the kids in earshot. 6. When you can, presenting a united front will give you more tools as your child gets older and into the teen years. 7. Understand you would not have agreed on everything even if you had stayed married, so think about compromise. 8. Take a deep breath before engaging in any discussions, you are more likely to sound calm instead of agitated. 9. Remember that your kids are watching how you negotiate and handle conflict!