If you are divorced and have children, one of the challenges that you will have to face is co-parenting with your ex. Even if your divorce was more or less amicable, there are still likely to be some hard feelings and differences of opinion when it comes to raising your children.
And because you are no longer under the same roof, effective communication with your ex will be key. Unfortunately, however, this is often easier said than done. So how can you ensure effective communication with your ex for the good of your children? Here are a few tips:
If you are still in the divorce process, the time to communicate about co-parenting is now. Oftentimes couples in the middle of divorce want to avoid this topic for as long as possible because it is the most difficult. But it really is in everyone’s best interest if you develop a co-parenting plan and dispute resolution process sooner rather than later.
After especially painful divorces, this can be very difficult. If you cannot speak face to face or on the telephone without getting into an argument, then look for other ways to communicate. You may be able to communicate better by text or email although if you have a hard time controlling your “tone” even with this, you may want to have a friend review what you’ve written before you hit send. There are also a number of technologies and apps available to help you including OurFamilyWizard.com, TalkingParents.com, or CoParently.com.
It can be tempting after a divorce to badmouth your ex, but you shouldn’t do this – especially in front of your children. Regardless of what you went through as a couple, your ex is still a parent to your children and when children hear one parent badmouthing the other, it can seriously damage their self-esteem and mental health.
Now that you are co-parenting with your ex, you should try and make a mental shift. Instead of thinking of yourselves as a failed romantic relationship, you need to start thinking of yourselves as business partners in raising your children. And this means sharing the important things.
When you think of your ex as your business partner, it is only natural that you would want to keep them in the loop when your child develops a new passion or is having trouble at school.
No one is perfect and that includes both you and your ex. You are both going to make mistakes. Because of this, you will sometimes need to give each other the benefit of the doubt. For example, if your ex drops off your children later than the agreed-upon time, it will do you no good to lose your temper (and this will be especially damaging if you do it in front of your children).
Instead, take a deep breath and wait until you are composed before address the issue.
Co-parenting with an ex can be difficult, but the good news is that you don’t have to do everything alone. Family lawyers, psychologists, and counsellors can all help you to facilitate communication if you need help.
Do not be afraid to use these resources – that is what they are there for!
Contact Marcy Segal today!
If you need help communicating or resolving a conflict with an ex about co-parenting, I can help. Contact me today to schedule a consultation.