Co-parenting is rewarding when it is going right but it can be very stressful when it isn’t. These are times when you might need to focus on the positive side of the relationship. This isn’t always going to be easy.
It is almost always best to have more than one tool in your repertoire that you can take out when you need to make a change. Here are a few to consider:
Find a sounding board
It is easy to blurt out negative thoughts when you are frustrated. In a co-parenting relationship, this can work against you. Instead of saying whatever is on your mind with no impulse control, think about who is around you. If your children are there, don’t say negative things about your co-parent.
If you do say disparaging things about the other parent of your child, be sure you can trust that whomever you’ve said it to will keep this feedback confidential. Finding a third party to vent to is a must. Therapists or other mental health professionals are likely going to be your best option here unless you have a trusted friend or family member you can count on.
Check your perspective
You must do what you can to keep the focus on the positive aspects of the new way of life. Try to speak positively to your children, even if they are speaking of your ex. Just because the relationship between you and the other parent didn’t work out doesn’t mean that the person is a bad parent. It might help to think about some of the good qualities that attracted you to that person.
Leave the divorce behind you
The matters that led to the divorce are likely going to bring up negative thoughts. Try to leave those behind since the divorce dealt with them. This isn’t always going to be easy, but you will find that when you focus on being the best parent you can be, the situation is a bit easier.
Remember that mistakes happen
No parent is perfect, including you and your co-parent. When the other person makes a mistake, be quick to forgive. Help them to find a solution for the issues that are impacting your child. By presenting a united front in the face of adversity, you and your co-parent will strengthen the relationship and show the children that they can’t play one parent against the other.
It is also a good idea to make sure that your parenting plan is set and appropriate for the children. Discuss any changes that you feel need to be made and work out a way to get the new plan in writing.