The love between a parent and child is one of the strongest things in the world. No matter the status of your relationship with their other parent, your kids are your biggest priority. In the absence of addiction or abuse, children thrive best when they are able to have strong relationships with both parents. That’s why so many parents find it important to co-parent as a team after getting divorced.
Admittedly, it can be difficult to work as a team with your ex to raise your children, especially if your divorce was particularly bitter and acrimonious. Our extensive experience in the world of family law has given us excellent perspective on the ins and outs of divorce, but also on the ins and outs of life after divorce. Read on to discover our tips for a smooth and successful co-parenting journey
1. Don’t undermine your ex’s authority.
Although you may still feel resentment towards your ex, don’t use this as an excuse to badmouth them to your child. When your child is present, you should always speak of your former spouse with respect. If you do, it can cause your child to take them less seriously as an authority figure. This makes it more difficult for your ex to do important parts of parenting like disciplining and giving guidance, which ultimately has a negative impact on your child. Even if you disagree with decisions your ex is making (providing they are not endangering your child), it is best for your children if you support your ex; and then address issues or concerns with your ex when your children are not present.
2. Present a united front.
When it comes to the big issues, you need to be on the same page as your ex. It can be confusing for children if mom gets mad when they don’t do their homework while dad says it’s not important. You don’t have to agree on everything, and the rules don’t have to be exactly the same in each home, but children need a certain level of consistency and they don’t need to see their parents bickering about what is and isn’t the right parenting move. Find agreements where you can, and work really hard to not allow your children to see you arguing.
#2 isn’t possible without communication. Talking with your ex can feel like a chore at best or an emotional landslide at work. But still, you need to communicate about everything from pickup and dropoff times to Sally’s difficulties in math class. Keep conversations kid-related and don’t stray off-course. Remember that you both have the same ultimate goal: to keep your children happy, healthy, and thriving. Dr. Bill Eddy advises that, especially in high conflict situations, you keep your communication: Brief, Informative, Friendly and Firm. Don’t waste your time arguing, advising or admonishing the other side. This is an incredibly important communication skill to master when you have an ex. You can learn more at Dr. Bill Eddy’s High Conflict Institute.
If you are facing a family law matters such as divorce or a child custody battle, contact Hargrave Family Law. Our team is committed to protecting what is important to you. We will work with you to develop a strategic plan and timeline to help you reach your goals. Call us at (214) 420-0100 to get started.