When you’re trying to co-parent with your ex, it can make things more difficult for you and your child. Successful co-parenting results in happier children, parents who are less stressed, and an overall greater level of contentment after divorce. While it can be difficult to get adjusted to having a healthy and happy co-parenting relationship, use these strategies for overcoming co-parenting conflicts!
The reason you’re doing this is for the one who is most important to you, right? It’s all about your child and making sure they have the healthiest childhood for them. Keep that in mind during any type of conflict and you’ll immediately diffuse the situation with your ex. It’s also important to kindly remind your ex why you are both doing this. By keeping the common denominator, your love for your child, in mind, you’ll make it easier to negotiation and compromise during all conflicts with your child’s other parent.
Related post: Helping Kids Through Divorce
It can be especially hard to remember who you’re fighting for when you’re in the midst of a fight with your ex! This is the time when it’s most important. As soon as things begin to get heated, try to think of your child’s face or even think of a happy memory you share with your child and your ex. You don’t have to relive it or even like your ex, but doing this will help you humanize your ex and diffuse the situation.
We all have it: the voice you used in your college job at the call center for your local mall. Even if you haven’t worked in a customer-facing position in your life, you likely still have a customer service voice that you use for things like negotiating bills and handling annoying phone calls.
While you don’t want to put on a front with your ex, you may need to at certain times when there are co-parenting conflicts. Begin the conversation with your ex using this tone of voice and you’ll set the tone for the entire conversation. You will be less likely to let your emotions get out of control while having the discussion. Your ex will also be more open to discussions if you come in without hostility and sarcasm.
This can be a hard one to do so don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get it right away, especially if you still have open wounds from your divorce!
As much as it feels like your ex is just doing things to one up you, the chances are they’re just trying to give your child something they can enjoy while they’re spending time with them. Even if they are doing it with competition-focused intentions, it’s time for you to change your mindset about it!
Instead of thinking about your ex doing it to win some fictional competition with you, think of it as a way that your child is winning. By changing your mindset, you’ll be more receptive to the things that your ex is doing while they have your child and less likely to try to one up them in return.
As easy it is to respond with the first thing you think of, don’t be reactive. Instead, take your time to think about what you’re saying and what you want to say to your ex. Questions don’t always need an immediate response and, if they do, they’re usually not critical.
Important things are usually not urgent. Urgent things are usually not important.
Aside from emergency or time-sensitive situations, you can usually take some time (up to a day or more) to respond to your ex. Make sure you take time to think about what they’re asking for, whether it’s for something small like a couple of extra hours on their weekend or something big like a change to child support. Giving yourself time to think about your response makes you more level headed and less likely to react emotionally.
No matter what happened in your relationship, it’s now in the past. Most of the time, co-parents split up so they have a better chance at happiness and it’s important to think of it that way. Don’t bring up things your ex did during your relationship like secret debts or years-long affairs. While it can be hard, it’s critical to overcome your emotions about the past and focus only on the present and future for your children.
As a co-parent, you must avoid low blows to your ex. These things can make your co-parenting relationship fail and actually have the ability to make your child’s life harder. Instead, negotiate, compromise, and discuss things like the separately functioning adults you now are.
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What strategies have you found to help you work together with your co-parent?