Raise your kid together ... even after you split.
What does "well" actually mean though? After all, how many of you co-parented well before the divorce?
I'm not here to tell you that it's impossible. And I certainly do believe it's beneficial for your kids if you work as a team when making parenting decisions, but if you didn’t parent like a team before your divorce, chances are co-parenting together when you're no longer married is going to be a challenge.
Here are 5 ways to make the post-divorce co-parenting transition much smoother once you are single again:
1. Find the communication tool that works best for both of you, and stick to it.
If the both of you talk and get along, this is ideal. You can discuss things, and it's wonderful for your kids to see you communicating nicely.
If you prefer to e-mail or text with your ex-spouse, I suggest e-mail as the better option because you leave a paper trail of communication. You also have the ability to answer on your own timeline. You can do this with texting too, but I find that details sometimes get lost in text.
2. Do NOT put your kids in the middle.
I know this seems obvious and it gets repeated often, but it isn’t as easy to live into as you think. Depending on their age, kids are very sensitive. You think you're keeping them out of your hurt feelings and conflicts with your ex, but perception is what matters.
If you talk negatively about your ex, ask your kids questions about what goes on at your ex's house, or use mannerisms that indicate your distaste, your kids feel put in the middle and it isn’t fair to them.
3. Take the high road when you can.
I would never recommend being taken advantage of, but when you have the opportunity to "take the high road" and avoid an argument with the other parent, it goes a long way. It saves you from the toxicity that you freed yourself from, and your kids continue to see you as the stable, safe haven they've always relied on.
4. Remember that you can’t control what goes on in your ex’s house.
If you're both able to be a united front on parenting issues, in your respective homes, that's fantastic, but definitely not the norm.
It's hard to give up the reigns, especially for mothers, who have done a large percentage of the child rearing. Understand and accept that you can't control what goes on in the other's house. It feels very liberating.
5. Accept that some couples just can’t co-parent together.
Do the best you that you can to work together with your ex regarding the children, but if it isn’t possible to co-parent, accept that and be the best parent you can be individually.
Lori Cooper is a certified, professional Life Coach specializing in women who are thinking about getting divorced or who are already in the process. Visit her website at loricoopercoaching.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.