While divorcing can prove tremendously difficult, for some people, adjusting to a new child care arrangement can be even more emotionally taxing. In addition to learning how to live life without your son or daughter in your home all the time, you must also learn how to communicate with your former spouse, and this is sometimes no easy feat.
Throughout your divorce, you might have repeatedly heard the term “best interests of the child,” and this is something you must also consider when it comes to your joint-custody arrangement. At the end of the day, it all comes down to what type of situation will benefit your son or daughter best, so learning how to successfully co-parent can have a substantial impact on your child’s overall growth and well-being. So, if you are among the many currently embarking on a new co-parenting relationship, try to do the following:
Avoid sweating the small stuff
Inevitably, situations are going to arise that you and your former spouse will handle differently. Maybe you have different rules at each home, or maybe your former partner has a hard time showing up when he or she says. When co-parenting, however, you may find that your voice is more likely to be heard when it counts if you “pick your battles,” so to speak, and save your comments for particularly important matters.
Keep goodbyes quick and easy
Your child may have an easier time adapting to life in two homes if he or she has your support. During drop-offs, give your child a quick hug and a smile, and then go. Avoid long, drawn-out goodbyes that may make your child feel guilty for leaving you.
When your ex asks you for a favor, such as swapping weekends, your first inclination may be to say no. Unless it truly throws off your schedule, though, it may benefit you in the long run to remain flexible. That way, when you want to take your child on, say, spring break during what is typically the other parent’s weekend, you may get the response you would like.
Co-parenting is rarely easy in the beginning, but if you can practice these tips, you may find that your co-parenting relationship improves considerably, benefitting you, your former partner, and most of all, your child.