Chances are that if you’re here visiting our site, it’s not because you have a cooperative parenting agreement or child custody order with your ex-partner. However, perhaps you do! Or perhaps you even believe that after the dust has settled, you and your ex-partner can settle into a child-focused zone where you ultimately can engage in co-parenting together to manage your respective child custody periods. It does happen. It’s not impossible in child custody situations to find cooperative parenting or co-parenting. If you never seem to obtain that common ground, parallel parenting may prove to be a successful alternative, but this article will focus on co-parenting.
When things do settle and both parties come to understand that the children of the marriage will need parenting until the age of 18 (at least), it’s time to turn your focus towards co-parenting arrangements. While this may have been difficult in the middle of a contentious divorce case, once everything has been “settled” – it’s time to move on with living your life and raising the best children you possibly can within the framework of whatever child custody order or parenting agreement you’ve gotten.
Be sure to make the conscious decision to avoid being judgmental of the other parent’s efforts and avoid fighting. Make those days part of the past and it will reduce your stress levels and those of the children. Remember, we want them to grow up happy, healthy, well-adjusted young men and women. These two tips are probably the most vital.
Keep communication lines open. You’ll be in regular contact regarding all events associated with the children, including school plans, extracurricular activities, successes and failures (rewards and punishments), covering each other when circumstances arise and so much more. If you keep these communications brief, informative, and factual – you keep the risk of problem communications very low. Treat it almost as if you were preparing the next shift of worker for what took place during your period of work to give them the best possible understanding and chance to succeed during their shift. Yes, co-parenting after divorce is certainly analogous to shift-work. Call it “shift-parenting” if you will.
Be respectful and reasonable in your dealings with the other parent. Always remember that your children have their eyes and their ears on you. Both parents should be working to set the best possible example for interpersonal relations. You are their heroes even after the family breaks up and how you treat others will be the lead that they follow regardless of the child custody arrangement.
For more information, see our Top 10 Co-Parenting Tips for Low-Conflict Divorce & Custody