Continuing a relationship with your ex after separation or divorce for the sake of your children can be challenging to say the least, especially if it was not a smooth separation. But for the sake of your children and their relationship with both of their parents, it’s essential for you and your ex to work out some sort of arrangement that you can both live with. And while it’s challenging to co-parent amicably, it can be done if you put certain parameters in place. Let’s look at three things you can do to make co-parenting easier for both you, your ex, and your children this year.
Focus on your Children, Not your Ex
Once you and your ex have split, the relationship changes and the focus shifts from you and your partner to your relationship with your children, and their relationship with your children. This can be especially challenging after a difficult divorce or separation, because you may still be emotionally dealing with that, but by focusing more on your children’s relationship with you and with your ex and what’s best for them it can help take some of the focus off of your situation. Everyone wants what’s best for their children and that includes having both parents present in their lives (barring any abnormal circumstances). While you may still be hurt and angry, your children need the influence of both you and your ex, so focusing on them and their feelings can help you co-parent as best you can.
Learn a New Way to Communicate
It’s very likely that you and your ex don’t communicate optimally, and hurt feelings can easily influence how you communicate with one another. But remembering that the relationship now focuses on your children instead of yourselves can help you learn a new way to communicate with each other. It may seem impossible to put your feelings aside, but it is necessary; you and your ex will need to learn a new way to communicate with each other that benefits your children. An important part of this new communication is removing some of the emotion from the relationship. It might help to think of your ex as a business partner now. The two of you have a job to do together, raising your children, and dealing with each other more like business partners will help you maintain a level head. Likewise, keep your conversations about your “business”, without discussions about other personal matters that may begin arguments (such as new relationships). And finally, establish some kind of consistent schedule for talking about the kids. Any successful business has meetings on a regular basis, and meeting with your ex to discuss your children in a rational, calm, and structured setting is essential.
Going back-and-forth between two houses can be difficult for children. Whether you share custody throughout the week, alternate weeks, or alternate weekdays and weekends, the transition will no doubt be difficult for your children. Even though it’s difficult there are things that you can do to make it easier for them. Your attitude towards their visits with your ex sets the tone for their visit, so it is essential that you be positive about their trip. In addition to a positive attitude, having certain routines in place can help your child and you adjust to changes. Having supplies at both homes can help kids adjust more easily, such as a toothbrush, clothes, pajamas, toys, etc. Having a special routine for the day your child arrives can also help them feel at home more quickly, and help the transition from one home to another. For example, having a certain meal, playing a certain game, going to the movies, or doing something else special and unique can help make the transition easier.
Co-parenting can be difficult, but not impossible, and with some hard work and commitment you and your ex can make co parenting easier this year. While it might not be the ideal situation for you, your ex, or your kids, good communication, level headedness, and a routine can help you and your family thrive in 2017. If you’ve only recently begun the separation process and need help with custody arrangements, contact us at Okun/Billian today.