An effective and solid working co-parenting relationship takes work, understanding and some sacrifice. Although your marriage did not work, you want to make sure your children will continue to thrive.
To do that, you must set aside differences with the other parent and work together on co-parenting. Finding a winning formula is possible through communication, flexibility and recognizing the value that each parent has in their children’s lives.
Agree on certain things and communicate
The children can only benefit when both parents work together. Here are some signs that you and your former spouse have a healthy co-parenting relationship:
- Abiding by a predetermined schedule: Routine is good when managing schedules with children. Having firm plans in place leaves no doubt as to the arrangements for the day, week or month. Committing to a workable schedule also requires effective communication.
- The willingness to be flexible: Although a routine may be in place, sometimes, circumstances necessitate changes. As a result, flexibility is important. If a schedule conflict surfaces, it is a good idea to accommodate the other parent. You are demonstrating the preferred direction of the co-parenting relationship.
- Agreeing on what is important to the children: Disagreement may have contributed to your divorce, but now you should find common ground on decisions related to your children. This may include on health matters, education, religious or spiritual upbringing as well as discipline.
- Avoiding manipulation: Understand that your children need relationships with each parent. Do not badmouth the other parent in front of the children in hopes of persuading them to have a strict allegiance to you.
- Recognize the importance and strengths of the other parent: Children gain different opportunities with each parent. For example, one parent may take the children on regular outings in the outdoors, while the other parent enjoys activities such as making homemade pizza with the kids. Understand the value of disparate experiences.
You want your children to adjust well post-divorce. When they observe just how well their parents work together, they will remember and be grateful.
Beneficial for your children
Although you likely will continue to have disagreements with your former spouse, it benefits both of you to understand what works well in your co-parenting relationship. Then, focus on those positives. Small wins in a co-parenting relationship accumulate and evolve into a stable plan that benefits your children.