The foundations of co-parenting after a divorce

Work on these fundamentals to establish a healthy co-parenting relationship.

Going through a divorce can be difficult for any couple. When there are children involved, however, the stakes are always higher. Finding a way to amicably co-parent after a dissolution of marriage can be challenging, even when the divorce is civil. When emotions are high and both sides are frustrated, things can quickly go astray.

Consequently, it is a good idea to work on establishing the foundation for a healthy co-parenting relationship as soon as possible.

Treat your ex-spouse with respect, when possible

While you may have nothing positive to say about your former spouse when it comes to your relationship, he or she is still a parent to your children. As a result, when dealing with issues relating to the kids, treating your ex with some degree of respect will help ensure you can work together at the job of raising your children.

Of course, you may find it difficult to do so. For many couples, maintaining space can help ensure a respectful relationship exists. For instance, rather than having in-person meetings with your ex to discuss the children, you may find you are both able to stay within your boundaries if you communicate primarily in writing, or with the occasional phone call. Finding out what method of communication works best for you will be critical, to ensure you stay informed about what is happening in your kids’ lives.

Don’t treat your children as adults

When figuring out how you and your ex can best communicate about your children, make sure you do not start to act as if your children are older than they actually are. If you need to transfer a message to your ex, it can be tempting to use your children as intermediaries.

It’s best when in the midst of a divorce, however, to continue to allow your kids to be kids. You don’t want them to feel as though they are in the middle of your adult problems. Instead, find the method of communication that works best for you and don’t put your kids in the middle.

Treat yourself with compassion

One of the most important things to remember when navigating the new waters of your relationship is that you don’t have to aim for perfection. There are bound to be times when situations are not handled smoothly or you wish you could go back and do things over. When that happens, try not to beat yourself up with thoughts about what you could have or should have done. Instead, remember that you are doing the best you can, and bumps in the road are not a sign of failure.

By showing your children that you can pick yourself back up after a particularly difficult obstacle, you are teaching an important life lesson. Divorce is an emotional time for everyone involved, and learning to give yourself a break now and again will help you face the challenges when they occur.