Coparenting can be very difficult after a divorce. You want things to go smoothly and you want your children to be happy, but you and your ex are going to have occasional conflicts.
If your goal is to reduce or avoid these conflicts, consider the following tips. While you may not be legally obligated to follow all of these tips, they will be be beneficial if you’re trying to keep peace for the benefit of your family.
Have consistency in rules
Conflicts can happen when parents have different rules or expectations for their children. For example, discipline across two households can be difficult. If the two of you can agree on what rules you want to use when raising your children, that can reduce the number of conflicts you face. This also gives the children a better idea of what’s expected from them. The children know, for example, that if loss of privileges like a cell phone occurs in one home, it will also happen in the other home. The same expectations can apply for things such as practicing an instrument, time reading books, or time spent on the computer, across both homes. This consistency also provides stability, which can be helpful for their development, and minimizes opportunities for the children to pit the parents against one another.
Figure out how best to communicate
All couples have different communication styles that work for them. Some prefer conversations in person, others communicate best through text, and still others work best with a simple phone call. Find out what will give you and your co-parent the best option to communicate effectively while minimizing your children’s exposure to those discussions.
Always put the children first
Perhaps nothing is more important than your mindset. If you’re always working to put the children first, and so is your ex, then you are naturally going to agree on many things and make the same decisions. Simply understanding that your children’s needs come first can really help.
As you move into this co-parenting relationship, and especially if you run into disputes or if your situation is particularly high-conflict, be sure you understand your legal options.