Your divorce wasn’t easy, but it was for the best, and you and your ex-spouse have done an admirable job of making sure that you put the kids first at all times. Despite whatever failings either of you had as spouses, you think you’re both good parents.
Now, you have to learn to be good co-parents so that you can work together as a team. Where do you start? Here are some ideas:
Focus on your co-parent’s best attributes
By the end of your marriage, you may have forgotten that it was their sense of humor, their perspectives on life, their sense of adventure or other positive qualities that drew you to them in the first place. Try to keep in mind that your ex, no matter their faults, isn’t all bad.
Always approach your co-parent gently
Disagreements are going to happen, just as they did when you were married. When they do, approach your co-parent with an open mind and a cooperative spirit. Instead of being accusatory or hostile, ask for their perspective and listen. Then look for common ground.
You know what your parenting plan says, and you know what time is “yours” and what is “theirs” with the kids. However, you don’t always have stick precisely to the agreement. Maybe your co-parent wants to take the kids to a baseball game on Friday night when you’d normally have the kids. Being gracious now means you can bargain for the time you want when Grandma comes into town unexpectedly during your ex’s parenting time.
Offer your support
Is your ex having a bad day? Is it their weekend with the kids? Offer to trade weekends, if you can, so that your ex can actually enjoy their parenting time. That’s better for the kids too.
Similarly, if your ex is in a bind and needs a sitter, offer to break your routine and step in. Part of being a good co-parent means remembering that you’re still a family, despite the divorce.
You don’t have to like your ex-spouse to respect them as your child’s other parent. If you work out a suitable custody agreement that benefits everyone, you may find the transition to post-married life much easier.