5 Ways to Get Along Better with Your Co-Parent This Year
Co-parenting children successfully is heavily dependent on the ability of the parents to form a civil, working relationship with their children’s best interests in mind. If you are looking to improve or set the foundation for such a relationship, The Ruthenberg-Marshall Law Firm has some advice on how to get along better with your co-parent this year.
Help your children see the good qualities of their other parent. Each parent has their own values and strengths they can impart to the child. You may be tempted to view the other adult as your ex (rather than your child’s parent), but it is a good idea to keep their best qualities in mind and to reinforce these positive characteristics with your children. You should also make it a personal and household rule not to speak disrespectfully about your ex in front of your children, which puts the children in the middle. Remember that your children are not your friends or your therapists; if you need to vent, find a friend, family member or counselor to speak to – out of earshot of the children.
Keep the communication lines open and use them often. Successful co-parenting requires open and timely dialogue. If it is difficult to communicate with your ex through traditional means such as email, text messages, phone calls, and face-to-face conversations, there are also apps for uploading and sharing information between co-parents designed to help reduce conflict. It is important for parents to keep each other informed and let them know about any schedule changes or challenging situations. Do not rely on the children to carry messages between parents; this can lead to high anxiety in your children, and it doesn’t help improve the co-parent relationship.
Be on time but forgive tardiness. Another way of showing respect towards the other parent is to adhere to the parenting plan and childcare schedule but to be flexible when necessary. You should be as considerate and accommodating with your ex as you would like him or her to be with you, which can include things like making an extra effort to be on time to exchanges but also forgiving tardiness for things like traffic and appointments running late. You can also be open-minded and realistic about plans sometimes having to change as the children’s schedules and needs change. By being gracious and mindful, you are setting a positive example for your children and improving your overall relationship with the other co-parent.
Extend an olive branch to the other parent. Sometimes one person just has to break the cycle of negativity and resentment (even if the other person started the conflict or has acted more egregiously) in order to build a more positive relationship going forward. Both you and the other parent are important parts of your children’s lives; holding onto grudges or rehashing your marital mistakes is only going to hurt all of the parties involved. Even if you don’t feel like you can have a good personal relationship with your ex, you can move towards having a good working relationship with them.
Try co-parenting counseling. Co-parenting counseling brings the parents together after their divorce or separation so that they can discuss issues relating to their children and child care. Some of these issues may include co-parent communication, making joint decisions about your children’s needs, and/or how to help your children adjust to life post-separation. Co-parenting counseling helps the parents learn how to move forward rather than re-examine the past, and how to peacefully co-exist for the sake of the children.
Learning to work together as co-parents requires patience and sacrifice, which may not always be easy. Remember that the goal is to put your children’s best interests first. By moving away from an adversarial relationship and working towards a collaborative co-parenting relationship, you are setting a good example and paving the foundation for a positive future. If you have any questions about co-parenting or family law, or if you would like to set up a consultation, contact The Ruthenberg-Marshall Law Firm at (678) 435-9069 or via our consultation form.