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4 Reminders to Make You Better Co-Parents

Co-parenting can be difficult, particularly if you are fresh out of a contentious divorce and still trying to figure out how to coexist. It’s at this point that you’ve both got to refocus your efforts on the child and do what is best for him or her. The centerpiece of your relationship must shift. While before you may have been trying to make your relationship work for everyone, now you have to make the co-parenting relationship take precedent. That means setting aside personal feelings and ill will and remembering these basic but important tips.

1. Have conversations instead of disagreements. 

Yes, you will disagree with one another, and you may even feel anger, but try to leave that at the door when discussing parenting decisions. The need to compete is over. “My way is better than your way” hysterics no longer have a place because regardless of method, it must be something that stabilizes and nurtures the child. If you do feel like your voices are starting to raise, take a break and focus on what you CAN agree on. Also, realize that fragmented parenting is not an option, and that compromise is a must if you’re going to do right by your child.

2. Respect each other.

You may not like your ex as a person, but you can respect them if their heart is in it for the child. Try to let go of the past and look at their motives as it concerns your son or daughter. If they are doing what they feel is right for the child — even if it’s not the way that you would do it — respect that.

3. Save contentious issues for times when your children aren’t around. 

By “not around,” we mean “not even in the same house.” Wait until your children are at a friend’s house or at school if there is something that you foresee being contentious. Then meet at a neutral place — publicly — and hash it out over coffee or lunch. Kids are good at picking up on tension, so there needs to be some type of buffer between your meeting and the next time you see your child.

4. Choose your next relationship as a complement to your co-parenting relationship. 

If being a good co-parent is what you’re looking to do, then make sure that any future relationships fit in nicely with that situation. Doesn’t mean you have to make your new boyfriend or girlfriend be friends with your ex, but they do need to be able to interact without tension, and your new significant other needs to understand that the co-parenting relationship isn’t one they can control.

What are some things that have helped you co-parent effectively? Share your tips in our comments section!

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