While resolving a divorce may have taken you a considerable amount of time and effort, that is not the end of the work you need to put in for this new way of living. As a recently divorced parent, you may have already noticed difficulties in co-parenting with your ex-spouse. There are many negative consequences that your child may experience as a result of the divorce, so here are five co-parenting tips that can help you protect your child through this difficult transition:
Put your feelings about your ex-spouse aside
It is natural for a recent divorcee to have feelings of hurt or anger toward their ex-spouse, but it is still important to put your child’s needs first. Learning how to co-parent despite your strong feelings also promotes continued cooperation in the future.
Do not involve your child
Having your child report on what your ex-spouse is doing or using your child as a messenger to your ex can cause more problems than solutions. Your child may feel like they are doing something wrong toward their other parent and begin to feel guilty. This guilt can also manifest as resentment toward you for having them do it in the first place.
Avoid commenting on your ex in front of your child
Children often see themselves as one-half of each of their parents. If you begin insulting or criticizing their other parent, your child may see those comments as a reflection upon themselves as well.
Keep interactions formal with your former spouse
If you treat your new relationship with your ex like a business relationship, it may help you focus on tasks and uphold your end of the relationship. It can also help you ensure that you and your ex speak to each other in a calm tone and remain civil.
Choose requests over demands
When you need something from your ex, instead of using statements that start with “I need you to” or “you have to,” making it a request instead. Requesting your spouse to trade visitation weekends or take your child to an appointment is more likely to result in favorable outcomes than making a demand would.
Co-parenting is key
The more you and your ex prioritize co-parenting over bad habits, the better the relationship you will share between each other and your child. Putting your child’s needs first can make all the difference in how your child develops into an adult, so be sure you are taking the proper steps to promote co-parenting.