Just because you and your former spouse are no longer married doesn’t mean that you won’t be doing anything together. On the contrary, you will be doing one of the most important things together: you will be raising your children. But if you no longer get along, how can you accomplish the challenging task of co-parenting?
Here are 4 ways to present a united front when co-parenting with an ex-spouse:
- Never argue where the children can hear the conversation. You don’t want your children to think of their parents as mortal enemies. If children believe you get along, it can help you when you need to have conversations with them about other important topics, including school, grades and good and bad choices in life.
- Password-protect technology so children can’t stumble onto arguments that were put in writing. Phones have become useful tools for communicating efficiently. They also allow you to text or email your ex-spouse without having to actually speak with the person. This can be good and bad. You may argue with your ex in a text. Password-protect your phone so your child won’t accidentally stumble onto an argument you didn’t want them to see.
- Be cordial during transitions. When it’s time for you to drop off your child or for your ex-spouse to drop the child off to you, refrain from negative remarks and hostility that may be lingering after the divorce. Children can sense tension, and it can impact their attitudes and behaviors. If you can be civilized toward your former spouse, your children may be better behaved.
- Be consistent in discipline between households. If you use the three strikes and lose a privilege rule, see if your ex-spouse will agree to do the same. See if you can find common ground for consistency. This will make it easier for you and for your child as he or she moves from one home to the other. Your child won’t have to relearn the rules of the house if they are similar or the same.
Shared custody poses many challenges, but the benefits of successfully parenting your children are many. If you’re having problems staying on the same page with your ex or need to make changes in custody agreements, speak with a child custody attorney who can help lay the groundwork for successful co-parenting.