In the modern world, families come in all shapes and sizes, and co-parenting has become an everyday occurrence. The prevalence of the situation has not, however, made it easier, and many parents find themselves facing substantial daily challenges.
Being a parent is difficult enough in everyday situations, let alone when you are trying to deal with a pesky ex. Here at Twin Cities Kids Club, we are dedicated to making your life as easy as possible.
To help, we have put together the top tips you need to improve your co-parenting arrangement run as smoothly as possible.
Pick Your Battles
Presenting a united front is a crucial part of parenting. The last thing you need is for your kids to think they can play you off against one another. With this in mind, however, remember that things will be different in each house, and sometimes it is best to pick your battles.
While big decisions such as shared values and rules are essential, each parent will do things slightly differently. Different parenting styles are natural; before you kick off, ask yourself if it is really worth the drama, which may ensure. For your own sanity and peace of mind, don’t turn everything into a war.
Co-parenting is tough on both parties, so try and remember to be empathetic. Chances are, the situation is tough on your ex, too, so try putting yourself in their shoes.
Your child will appreciate you trying to see both sides, resulting in a calmer, more productive environment. Similarly, if your child is talking about the other parent, try and let them voice their concerns.
In addition to empathy, it is vital that you are prepared to be flexible. Meeting the other parent halfway will help you achieve the outcome you desire, with less stress. If you and your ex are arguing about the visitation schedules or denying visits, your child will ultimately suffer.
Wherever possible, try not to let the court-ordered schedule be too rigid. Schedules, while important, can get in the way of potential bonding time for either parent. If there is a chance to enjoy a ball game or watch the latest movie, why not give a little?
Your kids will thank you for your flexibility.
Don’t Use Kids As A Go-Between
No matter how acrimonious the split, do not get into the habit of using your kids as a go-between. Make sure that you always speak directly to the other parent about any updates, questions, or concerns.
In the first case, kids can get things wrong, and messages can quickly become muddled or lost in translation. If you ask your child to deliver a negative message, they may also witness a negative response from the other party.
Communicating directly also shows your kids that the relationship is mature and amicable – even if this is not the case. Modeling positive behavior in relationships is crucial, and who better to show this with than the other parent?
Redefine the Roles
In the aftermath of a split, it is easy to define the other party purely by your relationship: as your ex. Try to remember, however, that they are also your child’s other parent. Rather than seeing all of the things which went wrong in your relationship, focus on this new role.
This can include supporting new endeavors and moves, as long as they benefit your child. Remember, the relationship ended for a reason. As long as the kids are safe, happy, and healthy, their decisions are not your primary concern.
Obviously, this does not apply if your child is in danger or exposed to inappropriate lifestyles.
Keep It Short, Sweet And Civil
When you exchange the kids, keep things civil and positive. Complete the handover with smiles and positivity, and set an excellent tone for a visit.
If possible, mention your own plans for the time, and how you intend to make the most of the day. This natural act allows the children to enjoy their visit without guilt or worry.
Respect Your Co-Parents Time
Unless you have a straight 50/50 arrangement, one parent is likely to see the children less frequently than the other. Respect this, and designate it as ‘their time’; don’t be always calling or communicating.
Even if you do enjoy a 50/50 split, this still means that you are both seeing your child less than you would like.
By getting in touch during the other parent’s time, you are making the visit about you. This ties into our discussion of empathy; imagine how you would feel if your ex was continually encroaching on your time.
Co-parenting means just that; you are equal participants in the life of your child. With this in mind, make an effort to share accomplishments, high grades, and happy memories. Not only does this allow both parents to play an active role, but children can really enjoy their achievements.
Take photographs of days out and events, and share these with the other parent. Send copies of school reports and grades, share positive comments, and celebrate your child together.
Encourage Positive Relationships
Always remember that the relationship you have with your ex is not the one your children have. Encourage regular, quality communication via text, email, or call, and make an effort on special occasions.
Plan and shop for birthdays together, and make sure they know you care about the other parent. These small acts help kids feel more secure; they know they are loved and supported no matter what.
Don’t Get The Guilt
Co-parenting has one unforeseen advantage: you can enjoy more ‘me time.’ Try not to feel guilty about this; taking the time to rest and recharge is crucial for your wellbeing and mental health.
See a friend, get a massage, go for a walk, get some ice cream, or read a book; the more chilled you are, the better a parent you can be.
Secrets To Success!
Here at Twin Cities Kids Club, we want to help you smooth the path to parenthood as much as possible. Co-parenting doesn’t have to be a dramatic disaster. With our top tips, you can have an amicable, productive relationship that benefits your children.
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