Burying the hatchet after a divorce – especially a high-conflict divorce – is easier said than done. But if you share children with your ex, having an agreeable relationship can give your child a sense of stability and normalcy they need. By following these tips, you can make joint custody work with your ex and help your child to thrive after your divorce.
Establish a support network for the tough times
It’s essential to have trusted people you can talk to for all those inevitable disagreements when parenting with an ex. After all, you two broke up for a reason. In difficult times, consider seeking help from a relative, friend, mental health professional or support group instead of harboring your resentments.
Don’t badmouth your ex to your kids
It’s okay to air your grievances about your ex to your support network, but you should avoid speaking ill about them to your kids at all costs. Children often see themselves as a combination of both of their parents. If one parent makes it known that they can’t stand the other, it can unintentionally cause a child to feel insecure. The harmful speech also teaches children it’s okay to be disrespectful.
Try to give your ex the benefit of the doubt
Sticking to a stable and consistent schedule is crucial for helping a child to feel secure after a divorce. However, to survive co-parenting, it’s also important to be flexible and give your ex the benefit of the doubt. If they need to make a reasonable schedule change and it’s easy for you to accommodate, it’d be beneficial to work with them. You may need the same favor in the future too.
Don’t involve your kids in adult decisions
It may be tempting to treat your child as a friend you can discuss adult topics with when your ex is no longer there. Don’t make the mistake of putting your kid in the middle of your financial concerns or issues with your ex. Children who have to pick a side often feel depressed, anxious, guilty or hostile.
You’re bound to run into some issues when you co-parent with an ex. But if you can remember you’re ultimately on the same team for your children, you can ensure your child maintains a close relationship with both of you.