Updated: Feb 16
Co-parenting children with your “ex” can be a difficult process. Your relationship has ended, but you still have a responsibility to take care of your kids.
I know you’re probably dealing with a great amount of pain, anger, and resentment after a separation or divorce, however, its important to separate your feelings from the kids and put their best interest first.
As a woman, we navigate letting the court decide or trying to DIY an amicable arrangement that works for both of you. And if I'm honest, what works for him so you can keep the peace. Somedays you're down for it, other days you might wish you had Madea's pot of grits LOL!
Never speak bad about your ex to your children no matter what. No he hasn't given you a lick of child support and your child is obsessed with the one gift he bought but, you cannot say "you love that ___ but your trifling daddy ___" fill in the blanks.
Your children are his legacy and anything you speak on him you are speaking on them so speak life, sis.
This is why it’s crucial that you learn to do whatever is best for the children. You CAN be successful by taking healthy actions to move forward.
Listen, it’s okay to deal with your feelings by getting therapy or talking to a trusted friend or family member. However, your children cannot be mini therapists, nor should they suffer and be isolated from your ex because you’re angry. Also do not complain about your ex in front of the kids or use your children to convey messages to each other. It’s not their responsibility to handle your relationship’s leftover issues.
Avoid being competitive. Children love both of their parents, so they benefit from a united front. Maybe your situation didn't work out with a ring or white picket fence but, your children are resilient. The way you handle co-parenting is just as good of an example to follow for their own future relationships.
Research shows that kids thrive in positive co-parenting environments. They feel more secure and actually enjoy a consistent parenting style. This makes it easier for them to handle issues because they know they have both parents to rely on in tough situations.
Yes, these things are easier said than done but here are my top three strategies for successful co-parenting:
1. Make communication the key. Even if you’re still hurt, you must communicate with your ex about the kids. You may need to talk to each other about a variety of things such as school supplies, field trips, permission slips, dietary changes, and others.
· Try to make your communications about the kids free from anger and stress. This isn’t always easy to achieve, but it’s an important and beneficial goal.
· Maintaining a formal tone in your conversations can sometimes de-personalize the discussion enough to get through it peacefully.
· Listening is one of the keys. Be willing to listen to each other and make changes.
2. Work together. It may seem redundant, but co-parenting requires that you work together.
· Your kids need to receive consistent rules and advice from both of you. They will learn that going to either you or your ex will give them the same results. You don’t want them playing you against each other to get their way.
3. Make it easier for the kids. Going from one parent to the other and constantly shifting from one household to the other is hard for kids. Make these transitions easier for your children.
· Talk openly about the transition with them. Let them know what they’ll be doing. Will they be spending half their time at the other house? Or just every other weekend? Just knowing the plan will help them prepare.
· Help your children pack, organize their things, and even attend their activities together will go a long way to help them to feel comfortable with the changes in your homes.
Trust me, I get it! Co-parenting with your ex can be difficult and stressful but keeping a mindset of doing the best for your kids can help alleviate the chaos, tone down some of the emotions, and minimize the stress as you work together.
Til your next (best) comes along, remember to Date Yourself Girl!