When you’re raising a child as two separated or divorced parents, you have to be able to co-parent effectively. If you don’t find ways to work together, you may find that your child acts very differently in each home and is having trouble adapting to the various expectations you or your ex-spouse have for them.
There are several ways that you can be more effective co-parents, even if you have a dispute. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- You can have a dispute without name-calling
The first thing to think about is that you can have a dispute without name-calling or being derogatory toward the other person. For example, you may not agree with the other parent grounding your child for getting a bad grade on a test, but that doesn’t mean you need to be rude to the other parent. You can make your case without being disrespectful.
- You need to know when to walk away from an argument
You should know when to walk away from a dispute. For example, if the other parent has started to raise their voice at you, it’s clear that they feel unheard or are trying to make you feel threatened. This is the time when you should walk away and wait for things to cool down before readdressing the problem.
- You can deal with problems before they cause major disputes
Finally, remember that you can both deal with problems before they become bigger. For example, if you know that your child is struggling with their math class, getting them tutoring and support may help avoid disputes about how to handle a poor report card or what to do if your child has to be held back. Tackle issues when they’re small, so they don’t turn into major problems.
Being effective co-parents does mean that you have to listen to each other and be willing to be flexible. Dealing with problems early, avoiding disrespectful interactions and knowing when to walk away are all good things to do to make your co-parenting relationship easier for yourself and for your ex-spouse.