How To Co-Parent Effectively With An Ex

5 easy-to-follow tips for healthy and effective co-parenting after a divorce.

Last updated on Jul 21, 2023

Couple with small children in a quarrel the silence and distance between them enhances the tension BearFotos / Shutterstock

Parenting is hard. Co-parenting can be even harder.

No couple expects to get divorced when they have a child together, so it's worthwhile to talk about the new challenges, obstacles and scenarios you may encounter as separated co-parents.

The following five ideas will help you navigate the communication challenges faced when trying to co-parent after a divorce.

RELATED: 9 Tips For How To Successfully Co-Parent With A Toxic Ex


Five Healthy Tips for Coparenting Effectively With Your Ex

1. Think of the future.

There are plenty of scenarios in which you will have to interact cordially: walking your daughter down the aisle at her wedding, attending your son's graduation or waiting outside the delivery room for your first grandchild. Strive to cultivate a healthy relationship now, so you can interact in a productive and comfortable way in the future. Parenthood is forever. It transitions right into grandparenthood, even if you are divorced.

2. Take a break.

Disagreements are normal when co-parenting. They're even normal when parenting as a couple! If you find yourself getting upset during a discussion, take a break. Say "I'm getting upset and I need to calm down. Let's stop for now and continue in the morning." Very often, when hot emotions have cooled, better understanding and solutions emerge. If you try to find solutions while upset, things can escalate to an unhealthy level and harm your relationship further.


3. Take the high road.

Try to take the high road without becoming a doormat. This requires a high level of discernment, maturity and patience. I call this divorce management. If you don’t have a handle on one or more of these qualities, recognize it and work on developing the skill. You can only control your own behavior.

RELATED: 7 Ways To Deal When Your Kids Prefer Your Co-Parent

4. Read books and articles about kids and divorce.

Children experience divorce differently than their parents do; it has an entirely different context for children. The more you know, the better, so learn as much as you can. It will make a difference. Encourage your children to communicate with you and ask questions. Try to give honest answers.

5. Don’t make your children intermediaries.

Divorce creates opportunities for misunderstandings. When kids talk about their experience with the other parent and it upsets you, clarify the information with your ex first and get the full context before jumping to conclusions.


Children are filtering observations through their experience and may misinterpret what they see or hear. There may be a good explanation, and it's smart to check in with your partner.

Parenting is difficult enough, so don''t let co-parenting with your ex make raising a child even more challenging. These five concepts are easy to apply and will help create a nurturing environment not only for your child but for you and your ex as well.

RELATED: 6 Mistakes Divorced Couples Make When Co-Parenting Teens


Micki McWade, LCSW, is a writer, Collaborative Divorce coach, psychotherapist, and parent educator who provides relevant information and assistance so you can move on in the best way possible.