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6 tips that make co-parenting easier

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Co-parenting is tricky. Your ex has primary custody, so you only see the kids every other weekend. You drop in sometimes for dinner, but you're not as involved as you'd like to be.

While the situation can be hard, having the right mindset can make it easier. Here are six tips that can help.

  1. Don't be afraid of boring activities. Every time you see the child doesn't need to be the time of your life. Studies show that doing normal day-to-day activities is very helpful for kids.
  2. Have consistent rules. Work with your ex to establish a bedtime, for instance, or rules about schoolwork. When you have different rules, it causes stress for parents and kids.
  3. Talk to your ex. No, you may not be thrilled about it, but communication is so important.
  4. Put the children's needs first. For instance, your ex may ask you to crack down more on homework. Rather than thinking that your ex is trying to control your time with your children, remember that getting the kids to focus on their work is best for their future.
  5. Understand that the kids are going to test you. It's what they do. They'll try to push rules and it can create a slippery slope.
  6. Have a plan for grandparents and other extended family members. When do they get to see the kids? What are they allowed to do with them? You can avoid potential arguments by setting that plan up in advance.

These six tips aren't all you need to do. They're just a starting point. Take the time to consider your legal options, your rights and the kids' best interests.

Source: Psychology Today, "The Do's and Don'ts of Co-Parenting Well," Deborah Serani, accessed Dec. 15, 2017

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