Your ex-spouse will always have a connection to your life because of your children. There are plenty of psychological studies on co-parenting after divorce, defining different styles, but ultimately what it comes down to are cooperation and communication. It is essential for the wellbeing of the children that ex-spouses learn to put aside the hurt and focus on doing what is best for the children.
Benefits of good co-parenting
When ex-spouses learn to compromise and work together, keeping their own needs out of the picture, the effects of the divorce are less traumatic for the children. Children will feel more secure knowing that both parents are working together, which can help them to adapt to any new living arrangements.
Parents who cooperate can also provide consistency for their children in terms of rules and structure which provides a sense of stability throughout the changes brought by divorce. Children also learn about diplomacy and cooperation by observing their parents work through disagreements and problems in a constructive and peaceful manner.
Best practice for co-parenting
Focus on the children
This should go without saying, but is often easier said than done, especially when your divorce is acrimonious. However, mindfully putting aside your own feelings and making the best choice for your children will help you to make better decisions as a co-parent.
Check your ego
You are not in competition for your children’s love. Your ex-spouse is not a threat to your relationship with your children. Resist the urge to compete for their love and attention. This is manipulative and does not benefit anyone.
Don’t put your children in the middle
Never use your children as messengers. Do not talk badly about your ex to your child. Do not ask them to spy on your ex. When you need to discuss something with your ex, talk to them yourself with dignity and kindness.
Be ready to compromise
You will not agree all the time, so be willing to be flexible. Also, learn to communicate without anger or bitterness when it comes to making decisions regarding the children so that when you disagree you can discuss your wishes and concerns without being accusatory or argumentative.
Co-parenting is not easy, but with some effort and maybe support from a counselor or mediator, you and your ex can learn to communicate, compromise, and co-parent to the best of your abilities.