Ending any relationship with someone can be difficult, but if you have children together, you need to find a way to communicate effectively. Co-parenting is often seen as an emotional minefield full of pits and falls. However, there are some simple things you can do to improve the co-parenting relationship and make exchanges much more peaceful.
1) Realize That This Isn’t About You
One of the biggest mistakes we see when it comes to co-parenting issues is the internalization of events. When one parent is late dropping off a child, the other parent may interpret their tardiness as a personal attack, when it may just be an accident on the freeway that has delayed them. Realize that the other parent’s actions or inactions may not be about ‘getting back at you’ or ‘punishing you’ for things that happened during your marriage. It may just be some badly-timed circumstances. Getting along isn’t about you or the other parent, it is what is best for the children involved.
2) Communicate Effectively
This seems like a given, but this can mean different things to different people. Communicating effectively means being able to speak to each other without a fight. This may be only through text, email, or online calendars. If you start to notice that you can no longer use a method to communicate, make sure to let the other parent know that you wish to use a different way to talk. Only communicate what is needed and always ask yourself if you would say the same thing to your grandparent or best friend. If you wouldn’t, then don’t say it.
3) Do Nice Things for Each Other
This can take a bit of time to get in the place of doing nice things for each other. Many co-parents take years to be in the mental state of being thoughtful and friendly to the other parent. However, little things go a long way. Know that your child has a field trip coming up on one of the other parent’s days? Buy the supplies they need ahead of time. Invite them to a school event that falls on your evening. When you take the time to be thoughtful and respectful, more times than not, you will get the same back when you need patience and understanding.
Contact West Coast Family Mediation Center for help establishing a peaceful co-parenting relationship.