Wouldn’t it be nice if every divorce ended peacefully and amicably? Where two parents sharing the responsibility of a child could co-parent easily, without drama or hassle? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was an easy way to handle child support?
Well, the answer to all of these is a resounding yes. But unfortunately, as we all know, reality doesn’t always match the fantasy. And whether it’s divorce, becoming a co-parent, or handling child support, life is going to be messy.
But we have some news for you – there are some tricks to being a good co-parent, even if you don’t get along well with your ex. Here are some tips we can share to make your experience easier.
- Understand what your child needs – A good co-parent needs to understand that their child now has two separate lives. And with two separate lives, they also have two parents who may treat them differently and may offer them different things. Try to see the world through your child’s eyes, and understand what it is that the other parent offers that you may not be able to. The key to this is understanding strengths, and not focusing on weaknesses. If your ex is better with your kids doing homework, don’t try to control when and how your child works on school work. Maybe they are better at physical activities that you don’t have time for. Whatever it is, ask yourself what you need, and what your child needs, to make for a better household.
- You’re not married, so don’t hold them to a standard you’d hold your husband or wife: Remember, there are reasons you’re not still married. So don’t hold the co-parent to the same standard you would a husband or a wife. Instead, hold them to the standard of being a good co-parent. This means letting your high expectations slide by taking a deep breath and realizing it will be OK to relax sometimes.
- Don’t start conversations you know will go nowhere: Again, easier said than done. But if you couldn’t change behavior in the past, you won’t change it now. Instead, focus on conversations that are positive and highlight a co-parent’s strength. Don’t remind him or her of the negative past. If you need to have conversations about difficult topics, ask to find a good time to discuss it. Being able to prepare for a heated subject matter will give each parent the time to think more logically. And also be sure that the conversations are about how best to parent. Keep the focus on the child, and not on your relationship.