Millions of children every year are affected by combative co-parenting. This is when parents constantly argue, which begins to spill over into their parenting. This can make it difficult for children to feel safe and secure and can even lead to behavioral problems. No child should feel stuck in the middle of their parents’ conflict. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to overcome the adverse effects of combative co-parenting and position your children for success.
Understand That Co-parenting Is Hard, but It’s Worth It
It’s important to understand that co-parenting will not always be easy. In fact, it can be downright difficult at times. However, it’s important to remember that the goal is to provide your children with a stable and loving home. This means that you have to be willing to put your differences aside and work together for the sake of your children. Take a moment to remember why you’re doing this, and let that be your motivation when things get tough.
Communicate With Your Co-parent as Often as Possible
One of the best things you can do to overcome combative co-parenting is to communicate with your co-parent as often as possible. This communication should be respectful and focused on the needs of your children. You’ll also want to ensure that you’re communicating about important things, such as school events or doctor’s appointments. This will help ensure that you’re both on the same page and can avoid the type of conflict that results from miscommunication.
Keep Your Disagreements Respectful
It’s also essential to keep your disagreements respectful. This means that you shouldn’t use disrespectful language or engage in personal attacks. If you are getting heated, take a step back and calm down before continuing the discussion. It’s also important to remember that you’re not going to agree on everything. That’s okay. What’s important is that you can respect each other’s differences and find a way to work together.
Don’t Badmouth Your Ex to Your Kids
One of the worst things you can do as a co-parent is to badmouth your ex to your kids. This will only make them feel caught in the middle of your conflict. It can also damage their relationship with their other parent. If you have something negative about your ex, say it to another adult or save it for your therapist. Your children should not be used as a sounding board for your frustrations.
Set Ground Rules for Your Relationship With Your Ex
Ground rules are essential in any relationship, but they’re especially important when you’re co-parenting. These rules should be designed to help you set boundaries and avoid conflict. For example, you might agree not to discuss specific topics in front of the kids or to take a break from communication if things get heated. These rules can help prevent the type of conflict that can damage your relationship with your ex.
Cooperate and Compromise Whenever Possible
Whenever possible, you should cooperate and compromise with your ex. This means that you’re willing to work together to find solutions for both of you. It also means that you’re ready to make sacrifices for the sake of your children. For example, you might be willing to give up your weekends with the kids if it means that your ex can have more time with them. This type of cooperation and compromise can go a long way in overcoming the negative effects of combative co-parenting.
Focus on the Positive
It’s also important to focus on the positive. This means that you should try to find things that you can agree on and build on those. For example, if you both want what’s best for your children, you can use that as a starting point for cooperation. It’s also important to celebrate your children’s accomplishments and milestones together. This can help to create a positive relationship between you and your ex.
Q: What Common Obstacles Do Co-parents Face When Trying to Establish a Working Relationship?
A: Lack of communication, different parenting styles, and unrealistic expectations are some of the main obstacles that co-parents face. Because the two individuals are no longer in a relationship, it can be difficult to overcome these differences and find common ground. Especially when these very reasons perhaps led to the couple’s split in the first place. However, starting from a place of respect can help co-parents find a way to work together for the sake of their children.
Q: Why Is It Important for Co-parents to Have a Working Relationship?
A: A working relationship between co-parents is crucial because it sets the tone for how the children will view and handle connections themselves. If parents can’t get along, the children will likely grow up feeling caught in the middle and resentful. On the other hand, a healthy relationship between co-parents can provide stability and support for children, even if their parents’ relationship is not perfect.
Q: What Should I Do if My Fellow Co-parent and I Are Having Difficulty Communicating?
A: If you and your co-parent struggle to communicate, it’s important to take a step back and assess the situation. First, try to identify the root of the problem. Is there a particular issue you can’t see eye-to-eye on? Are you and your co-parent not communicating as often as you’d like? Once you’ve identified the problem, it will be easier to find a solution. If you’re still having trouble communicating, consider seeking professional help. A mediator can assist you and your co-parent in resolving conflict and communicating effectively.
Q: I Think My Co-parent Is Trying to Control Everything. What Can I Do?
A: If you feel like your co-parent is trying to control the situation, it’s important to discuss boundaries. Each parent should have a say in decision-making, and no one parent should feel like they are in charge. If you’re struggling to set boundaries, consider seeking out professional help. A mediator can assist you and your co-parent to communicate effectively and establish healthy boundaries.
With even the best intentions, co-parenting can be a challenge. However, by understanding the common obstacles co-parents face and learning how to overcome them, you can set yourself up for success. If you need additional support, consider contacting an experienced Metro East family law attorney. They have the power to help you navigate the challenges of co-parenting and protect your rights along the way.