Divorcing spouses – very understandably – often have a difficult time being around one another while their divorce case is pending. Yet, doing so may be necessary in order to remain active in their children’s lives and/or to engage in parenting time exchanges.
While there is no question that encountering the spouse you’re divorcing can be stressful, it can also be an opportunity to start building a foundation for healthy co-parenting moving forward.
How cooperative co-parenting helps your children
Your children – regardless of how old they are – are perceptive creatures. They are going to pick up on the tension between you and your co-parent, whether you’re talking about upcoming holiday plans over the phone, cheering on your youngest as they play in a basketball tournament or dropping them off at your ex’s house for parenting time.
By trying to set the stage for healthy co-parenting now, you’ll develop solid habits that will benefit both you and your children alike. This approach will likely take significant effort on your part, but it will almost certainly be something that your future self (and your children’s future selves) thank you for later.
How to begin your co-parenting relationship
If you are unsure of how to begin, it can be helpful to keep a few tips in mind:
- Be flexible, when possible. Life is unpredictable and messy. By granting your co-parent some grace and adopting a flexible approach (when appropriate), you’ll likely benefit from similar treatment in the future.
- Understand that your co-parent will do things differently than you do. Unless your child is in danger or is not having their needs met, you’ll likely want to hold your tongue regarding your co-parent’s different parenting style until you can speak with them privately and respectfully about any concerns you may have.
By developing a sound, workable parenting plan and keeping these two tips in mind, you’ll be less likely to feel as if you are consistently being knocked sideways by the challenge of adjusting to a new co-parenting relationship.