During a divorce, it seems like nothing can be harder than separating from your spouse and ending a marriage. However, often successfully raising your children with your ex-spouse can seem as hard, if not harder, than the actual divorce. Here are six tips from the family law attorneys at Platt Hopwood on how to successfully co-parent your children:
1. Change your language and mindset. Being a successful co-parent means working closely with your ex-spouse, and the first step to achieving this is changing how you think about your ex-spouse. You must stop calling them your ex and start calling them your co-parent. Raising children with your former spouse is like operating an airplane with a co-pilot, while you may not be happy with your co-pilot, if you both cannot get along and the airplane crashes, your children will be the passengers who suffer. Stop thinking of your former spouse as your “ex” and start thinking of them as your co-parent, your partner, and your children’s parent.
2. Treat it like a partnership. You and your co-parent have the same goal: raising your children into happy and healthy people. With that in mind, always keep your communication with your co-parent professional. Text, email, and speak with them like you would with a co-worker.
3. Always use the golden rule and treat your former spouse the way you would want to be treated. If your children’s other parent needs to switch a weekend and you don’t have a conflict, switch and hopefully they will return the favor if the roles are ever reversed.
4. Do not be afraid of a “time out.” Your children may hate time outs, but taking time to remove yourself from a situation that is getting heated or out of hand, especially if the communication is electronic, can be a relationship saver. It’s easy to misread tone in emails or to send off a sassy text without thinking about the consequences. Instead of instantly responding, take an hour or a day and come back to the text and then respond.
5. Choose your battles wisely. When it comes to the minor decisions do not try to control what goes on during your co-parent’s timesharing. For example, if you prefer a 9:00pm bedtime and your co-parent likes to watch movies with the kids until 10:00pm, you might want to accept that decision. When it comes to the major decisions in your child’s life, do not be afraid to respectfully stand your group or work towards a compromise, however do not be afraid to let go on the little decisions. Letting go and accepting that your co-parent has the right to parent the children at their house can save you a lot of stress and take off any potential strain in your relationship with you co-parent.
6. Lastly, commit to making it work. You and your former spouse have a common goal: raising happy and healthy children. Co-parenting does not require friendship, but it does require corporation & mutual respect. You don’t have to like your former spouse, but you do have to respect their ability to parent your child.
If you and your co-parent are going through issues that are beyond cooperation then call the experienced family law attorneys at Platt Hopwood for a free consultation to learn about your options. (321) 72-LEGAL.