3 Easily Avoidable Co-Parenting Mistakes
Keeping in touch with your spouse after a divorce is not always the easiest thing. Sometimes you just want to have a clean break and move on with your life. But, if you two share children, that isn’t a realistic option.
As one half of a co-parenting duo, you’ll need to communicate with your ex from time to time. You’ll need to do your best to follow your parenting plan. And, you’ll need to keep up with your custody duties.
It can seem overwhelming at first, and many co-parents take time to adapt to their new situation. During that transition period, they aren’t always thinking clearly and can make some less than great decisions.
TIPS TO START OFF YOUR CO-PARENTING LIFE SMOOTHLY
You are not the first person that is new to co-parenting, and you won’t be the last. That means there is plenty of information available to help you do the best job possible.
One easy way to learn what to do is to take a look at what not to do. Here are three examples of mistakes you can avoid.
USING YOUR CHILDREN AS A MESSENGER
An all too common mistake is when co-parents think an easy way to avoid talking with their ex is by having your children act as messengers. This is not a very good idea.
Firstly, whatever communication goes on between you and your ex is between you two and shouldn’t involve your children. It puts them in an unsavory position.
Second, it can put them in an adversarial position with a parent if they are asked to pester them about late pick-ups or missed child support.
Let you children be children. Keep the communication between you and your ex. If you don’t want to talk to them face-to-face, you can opt for phone calls, text messages, and email.
BADMOUTHING YOUR EX
Let’s be honest. It’s very natural for a recent divorcee to say less than good things about their new ex. It’s OK when you’re alone with your friends, but you should be careful in other situations.
You should never trash your ex in front of their children. You cut ties your with your ex, but your children didn’t. By speaking poorly about them in front of your children it teaches your children it’s OK to disrespect their parents. That’s not good for your ex, your children, or you.
Also, be careful about what you post on social media. Children are much more tech savvy these days than many parents give them credit for.
REFUSING TO BE FLEXIBLE
While trying to follow your parenting plan and custody schedule to the best of your ability is a great idea, you don’t have to throw common sense out of the window.
Sometimes having a little flexibility in your custody schedule makes sense. If your ex has a random work emergency or if one of their other relatives has a health emergency and they need to swap weekends with you, it only makes sense to do so if possible.
Flexibility is often a two-way street too. If you show a little flexibility when your ex needs it, they will most likely return the favor.
Co-parenting isn’t always as easy as following your parenting plan and custody schedule to a t. It can be a tricky game of give and take.
The main idea is to co-parent in such a way that focuses on shared values and not specific incidents as well as keeping the parenting details between you and your ex. Let your children worry about being children.
By avoiding these simple but very common co-parenting mistakes, you’re setting you and your ex-spouse up for success.