Unless there were serious issues during the divorce process, such as substance abuse or domestic violence, having both parents actively involved in their child’s upbringing is the best way of ensuring that all your kid’s needs are met. This is known as co-parenting or joint custody, and it allows children to retain a close relationship with both parents.
Having to make shared decisions or routinely interacting with someone you would rather forget about can be exhausting. However, for the sake of your child’s well-being, it is possible to overcome challenges that come with co-parenting and an effective parenting plan with your ex.
Making joint parenting work
To make joint parenting work, you must start by separating your personal relationship with your ex from your co-parenting duty. It might help if you work towards a completely new relationship with your ex – one that is solely about your child’s welfare rather than either of you.
Remember, your marriage may be dead, but your family is not. Acting in your child’s best interest must be your utmost priority. And the first step to being a mature and responsible co-parent is to put your child’s needs first.
Two tips for successful co-parenting
There are two primary steps that you should take to ensure that you and your ex have a seamless co-parenting experience:
- Keep your emotions under control. To be an effective co-parent, your emotions – resentment, anger and hurt – must never cross paths with your child’s needs. Of course, setting such strong feelings aside may be the toughest part of learning how to co-parent with your ex, but it is also the most crucial. Again, co-parenting has nothing to do with your feelings or your ex’s. Instead, it is about giving your child the best upbringing possible.
- Work on communication with the other parent. Consistent, mature and purposeful communication with your ex is key to successful co-parenting. And it all begins with your state of mind. Look at communication with the other parent as the building block of your child’s well-being. Before picking a fight with your ex, ask how your actions will impact your child and make a conscious decision to conduct yourself with decorum.
One of those difficult aspects of life after a divorce or a legal separation is establishing a safe and healthy routine for the children. This is why you must come up with a custody arrangement that works in the best interest of your children.