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4 Basic Rules Of Successful Co-Parenting

When a marriage ends, there are sometimes unresolved and negative feelings that linger between exes. If you and your ex have children together, it’s especially important to find a way to work through these issues and remove any barriers to developing a healthy co-parenting relationship.

While every divorce and co-parenting relationship is unique, the following are four basic guidelines that divorced parents should do their best to observe.

  1. Be Nice — When it comes to discussing your ex in front of your children, the old adage of “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” definitely applies. Making negative or passive-aggressive comments about you ex don’t go unnoticed by your children and, overtime, can erode feelings of trust and respect for one or both parents.
  2. Let It Go — You and your ex decided to divorce for a reason, or possibly many reasons. While it can be hard to move beyond feelings of hurt and betrayal, to co-parent effectively, it’s absolutely necessary that you find a way to let go of the past and move forward.
  3. Give Your Ex Credit — Like all healthy relationships, divorced parents who are able to successfully co-parent must maintain a certain level of respect for one another. In addition to not making disparaging comments about your ex, especially in front of your children, it’s also important to say complementary things. This is especially true when it comes to your ex’s parenting abilities. Maybe an ex-husband or wife wasn’t a great spouse, but he or she can still be an excellent parent.
  4. Talk It Out — While stonewalling and blaming may have dominated you and your ex’s marital communication style, maintaining these unhealthy habits as co-parents only sets you up for failure. Finally free from the burdens of trying to make an unhappy marriage work, for the sake of your children, you and your ex must resolve to find a better way to communicate. If it’s too difficult to talk face-to-face, communicating via email and text message in an appropriate and business-like manner is often the best approach.

The basic lessons we teach our children—to be kind, empathetic, inclusive and communicative—are the same directives we must follow as parents. If your ex is unwilling to work towards developing a better co-parenting relationship and intentionally does or says things that you believe are harmful to your children’s well-being or violate your custody order, it’s a good idea to consult an attorney for advice and help.

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