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How to Co-Parent with an Ex: 3 Tips

Choosing to bring children into the world relies on a certain level of selflessness on your part. You need to be willing and able to put your own needs, desires and feelings aside for the good of the child. Not every couple will be able to make it work, and sometimes the best thing for them to do is to be apart; however, you will always be connected by that child, and so you need to be prepared to co-parent peacefully with your ex. This won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it. Let’s get into it.

Putting Aside Emotion

If the split was acrimonious or you don’t really get along with your ex, then there is likely to be a lot of residual emotion like anger, hurt or even just lingering resentment, and this needs to be put aside for the good of the children. It can be hard to cooperate when you are feeling a lot of negative emotions toward the other person, but it will not benefit your children. 

This isn’t to say that your feelings aren’t valid – of course, they are, but they shouldn’t impact your behavior. Avoid venting to or in front of the children. Coming up with practical solutions can help; if your ex throws out accusations like accusing you of infidelity or questioning paternity, then instead of engaging in an argument, you could simply get a paternity test. Post and prenatal paternity testing by AlphaBiolabs is really easy and accessible, and it immediately puts a stop to these types of questions and conflicts.  

Prioritize Healthy Communication

You cannot expect to co-parent well if you aren’t communicating with each other. However, not all communication is healthy. So, before you reach out to your ex, think about what you want to say and why you want to say it. Does it serve a purpose for your child’s well-being or not? The ultimate goal should be conflict-free, healthy communication, and this might mean texts, emails, phone calls or face-to-face communication. It can look different for different people. 

Try to avoid putting the kids in the middle and resolve issues privately, away from little ears. You should also make sure that you aren’t using the children as messengers; communicate directly whenever possible. Communicating with your ex can be hard, but it can be improved with a number of tactics. You could try to keep a neutral tone, make requests as opposed to demands, listen well and show restraint. 

Everyone disagrees from time to time, it is to be expected, and while you should be prepared for this, you will also need to think about how you can resolve these. What do they say? Manners cost nothing? Well, it’s true. A little bit of respect can go a long way. Even if you do disagree, you will still need to communicate with each other and if you simply can’t, then use a mediator – not your child. 

There are issues that are worth the debate and others that aren’t. Save your energy for those big discussions and try to let the other smaller things go. Lastly, you might think that you are right, but so will your ex! It is unlikely that one of you is going to yield completely; instead, it is far more likely that you are going to need to be able to compromise and look for solutions that make you both happy. 

Remember That You are a Team

 Even if you aren’t together, parenting still should be done as a team; it doesn’t matter if you like each other or if you can’t stand each other anymore. Cooperation and communication are the cornerstones of co-parenting. If you work hard to achieve this, then more often than not, making the childcare decisions together tends to be a lot easier. Whilst you might not always agree on everything, and exposing your kids to differing perspectives is healthy, establishing a base level of consistency is important. 

Work with your co-parent to come up with some basic rules that will be the same across households. It is also worth considering your approach to discipline and thinking about consequences that can be kept the same across households too. If the length of punishment crosses over between households, you should expect your co-parent to follow through as you should too. Lastly, there should also be a certain level of consistency in their schedules too because this can help to make the adjustment easier on the kids. 

When it comes to child-rearing, there are decisions that need to be made, and they should be done so with input from both parents. Decisions such as medical needs, education and financial issues. In some instances, it might be worth designating one parent as the default for contact, although, in those cases, it is then the responsibility of that parent to pass everything along to the other and open up the floor for discussion. 

The Bottom Line

Truthfully, when there are kids involved, you do not have the luxury of animosity. Children pick up on everything, and they will know which parent made the effort and which didn’t. By doing your best to work with your co-parent, you are making life much easier for your children, and one day, they will thank you for it. 

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