How to co-parent happy and healthy kids after divorce

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Establish rules and guidelines for co-parenting 

Brene Brown says that rules are guidelines, not weapons. So when it comes to rules for co-parenting, think of them as guideposts to help you and your ex find your way to be the best parents to your children. Of course, every family is different, so you’ll want to tailor your rules to fit your situation. But here are a few suggestions to get you started: 

  1. Be honest with each other. This one seems obvious, but it’s worth repeating. Honesty is the foundation of any relationship and is essential in co-parenting. If you can’t be honest with each other, you’ll never be able to parent together effectively.
  2. Share constantly. This doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with your ex. But it does mean that you need to be able to speak openly and honestly about important parenting decisions. If you’re not on the same page, making joint decisions about your children’s welfare will be difficult.
  3. Put the children first. This is the most important rule of all. No matter how much you dislike your ex, remember that you love your children and want what’s best for them. Putting their needs before your own will help you make the tough decisions that are sometimes necessary for co-parenting.

Communicate with your co-parent regularly. 

Parenting is hard enough on its own, but it can feel impossible when you have to do it with a co-parent who you don’t always see eye to eye with. One of the most important things you can do to make co-parenting work is to communicate regularly. This doesn’t mean that you always have to be best friends, but it does mean that you need to be able to discuss parenting decisions and concerns without getting into a fight. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try contacting a professional for help. They can provide you with the tools you need to manage difficult conversations and keep your relationship with your co-parent on track. 

One of the best suggestions I’ve heard from a therapist recently was for divorced parents to have a year of monthly post-divorce support sessions with a mental health professional to assist in transitioning from a parenting model to navigating the different demands of co-parenting. 

Cooperate when it comes to parenting decisions 

Dr. Brene Brown once said, “Parenting is not for the faint of heart.” I think that’s especially true when it comes to making decisions. It can be hard enough to make a decision when you’re the only one involved, but when you’re trying to figure out what’s best for your child with another person in a different household, it can be downright impossible. The good news is that there are some things you can do to make the process a little bit easier: 

  1. Try to remember that you’re on the same team. You both want what’s best for your child, so try to approach the situation with that in mind. 
  2. Be willing to compromise. You’re not going to agree on everything, and that’s okay. What’s important is finding a way to work together and devise a solution that works for both of you. 
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

If you’re feeling stuck, reach out to a trusted friend or family member for their opinion. Parenting is tough, but it’s much easier when cooperating with the other parent. 

Respect each other’s parenting styles. 

As a parent, it can be difficult to respect another person’s parenting style if it’s different from yours. You may feel like you know what’s best for your child and that any deviation from your style is a cause for concern. However, it’s important to remember that every family is different and that there is no one right way to parent. Just as you would want others to respect your parenting choices, you should also respect the choices of others. By doing so, you can create a community of support and understanding. In the end, we all want what’s best for our children. So let’s start by respecting each other’s parenting styles. 

Don’t badmouth your ex in front of your kids. 

When you badmouth your ex in front of your kids, you’re not just being hurtful – you’re also modeling bad behavior. Your children are watching how you treat other people, and they’re learning that it’s okay to speak badly about someone you don’t like. Instead of tearing your ex down, try focusing on your relationship’s positive aspects. This will help your children see that it’s possible to have a healthy, respectful relationship even after a divorce. And if you’re looking for some wisdom on getting through tough decisions while co-parenting, check out the work of Brene Brown or Glennon Doyle. They’re both experts, and they’re also pretty funny. So there’s that. 

Keep the lines of communication open, even after the divorce is over. 

Your divorce is complete, and you’re both moving on with your lives. But just because the marriage is over doesn’t mean you can’t still have a relationship. You’re connected through your child or children forever. Keeping the lines of communication open can be beneficial for both of you. It can help you stay connected to each other and ensure that you’re both on the same page regarding co-parenting. Plus, it can provide a much-needed opening for working through residual anger or hurt feelings. If you’re not sure how to keep the lines of communication open, here are a few tips: 

  1. Make sure you’re both on the same page regarding parenting. This means sharing custody schedules, agreeing on significant decisions, and being clear about your expectations.
  2. Don’t use your kids to communicate with your ex. This will only put them in the middle and make them feel like they have to choose sides.
  3. Communicate directly with your ex instead of through other people or social media. This helps to ensure communication and understanding and limits misinterpretation.
  4. Lastly, don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you’re having trouble communicating with your ex. A therapist can help facilitate healthy communication between you two so that you can co-parent successfully.

Co-parenting can be difficult, but it’s worth it for the sake of your kids. Following these simple tips will help make the process a little bit easier. If you’re still struggling after trying these suggestions, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Plenty of resources are available to co-parents, and there’s no shame in admitting that you need a little assistance. Be well!