You may have found yourself in a situation where you have shared custody of your kids but still can’t bear to be around your ex. You can try and keep contact to a minimum, but conversations and communication are necessary to facilitate the smoothest transition possible for your kids. This can feel near to impossible when there is betrayal, hurt, and heartbreak involved – the process won’t be easy. But, follow these guidelines, and you will be on the best path for a happy and functioning family.
What is Co-Parenting?
Simply put, this is the process of sharing custody of your children when the parents are not together. At times the parents may have never been together, but both choose to be present in their kids’ lives. But, co-parenting after divorce is rocky terrain, as spiteful feelings will often get in the way of prioritizing the children involved. Whether it’s alternative weeks at mom’s or dad’s or holiday periods shared down the middle, an incredible amount of communication and compromise is necessary to make it work.
How to Co-Parent
Working with your ex, and not against them, is arguably the most vital thing to keep in mind while conducting negotiations. You need to be on the same team, or you’ll be butting heads so much that you lose sight of what’s essential for your kids. See it as a collaborative effort, and take your ex’s priorities on board too. If hostility takes over and constructive communication reaches a stalemate, co-parent counseling can be extremely useful, as having an unbiased mediator goes a long way.
Once you have made your co-parenting plan, stick to it. Kids need consistency, but so do we. Having a routine that you can rely upon will help you on your road to rebuilding your independence. You’ll even find you start to enjoy your time spent without your children, as you can begin to explore your interests and passions once more. Consistency will help make this tumultuous time feel less out of control for you, your kids, and your entire family.
Messy break-ups and destructive divorces can leave children feeling intense emotions that are impossible to understand or process. This is made decidedly worse when arguments and fights take place in front of the children. For this reason, no matter how angry you are, keeping your emotions under control in front of your kids is paramount to their well-being. Embody an aura of calmness when your kids are present – they already have their own emotions to deal with.
Where possible, choosing amiability can do wonderful things for a family post-divorce. Co-parenting with a toxic ex is a different story, but set your co-parenting boundaries firmly in place. No matter how surface-level your relationship is with your ex, bite your tongue when you want to speak badly about them in front of your kids, as they don’t deserve to be caught in the middle. They love you both, and encouraging malice will ultimately be something that you regret.
Our team is here with compassion and resources to guide you in your journey. Visit our Free Resources page to download our free Divorce Explained E-Book or call us at 972-838-1181 to chat about the process.