Joint custody or co-parenting arrangements mean that you need to develop a new dynamic with your ex. No matter how you may feel about each other right now, your children deserve to see you working together and cooperating.
Co-parenting can be a lot easier if you are conscious about how you approach the process. If you can follow all three of the practices below, co-parenting will eventually be easier for your family.
1) Establish rules for healthy communication
One of the most important things that you can do while figuring out this new relationship is to set and maintain boundaries. Limiting your communication to only matters that involve the children is likely a good start for at least the first year.
You may even want to use a parenting app to communicate so that you don’t fall back into old, unhealthy communication habits. Focus on supporting one another and honestly talking about what happens with the kids, rather than using communication to make jabs at each other.
2) Keep things consistent between households
Everyone in your family will have to do some adjusting now that there are two homes and children moving between them with some frequency. Having the same rules and daily schedule at both homes will make things easier for the children.
If they have the same curfew and basic expectations with both parents, they can’t claim ignorance if they break the rules or try to blame it on confusion either. Additionally, when you maintain the same rules and expectations for the children, it will be harder for the kids to try to manipulate the rift between you to their benefit.
3) Try to be supportive and flexible with a focus on the future
No matter how badly you hurt each other in the past, you will have to figure out how to work with each other now. It’s easy to hold onto a grudge, but it is much harder to forgive someone, learn how to see their value as a dedicated parent and support them as they try to become a better parent.
If you are willing to work with your ex when they need to make changes to the parenting schedule, they may extend the same grace to you. If you support them as they try to establish a new relationship with the children, they will likely remain supportive of your relationship with the kids.
The right attitude and focus can make your ongoing co-parenting relationship easier to manage.