Co-parenting with your ex-spouse takes significant commitment from both parties. Although communication may sometimes be difficult, your children will benefit from a positive relationship between their parents.
Foster a healthy family life after divorce by avoiding these common pitfalls of shared child custody.
Losing your temper
When dealing with your ex, strive to stay calm, cool and collected, especially when the kids are present. While divorce naturally brings up difficult emotions, working through these in therapy rather than expressing anger to your former partner will facilitate a positive co-parenting experience. After you allow emotions to run high, apologizing when you were wrong can go a long way toward building that bridge.
Placing decisions on your child
Although you want the best for your kids, you need to remain an authoritative figure in your home. Do not ask children to make decisions far beyond their maturity, such as choices about living arrangements, vacations and time with either parent. Stick to the visitation schedule and avoid situations where kids feel like they have to pick sides. Your child should not serve as a messenger to relay your thoughts to the other parent.
Competing with your ex
When kids spend time in both homes, rules and routines change from one parent to the other. Although being the fun parent with late bedtimes and little discipline can be tempting, your children need boundaries and schedules in both homes so they can thrive. Buying lots of toys or planning constant fun outings is not the healthiest route for your kids after divorce.
Criticizing or fighting in front of the kids
Remember that your ex-partner is your children’s other parent. Do not speak negatively about him or her when your kids are present. When you need to have a serious conversation with your ex, plan time to speak when the children are at school or with another family member.
Building a strong relationship with your former spouse can seem counterintuitive, but it benefits your children in countless ways. These tips will help you get on the right path to a good co-parenting arrangement.