Looking for some co-parenting tips that actually work?

Look, we know ending a relationship can be one of life’s most difficult challenges. Working with your ex to raise healthy, loving and stable children despite your split can be just as hard. 

But it is doable! There are many happy adult children of divorced parents who can attest to this fact.  

The key to successful co parenting is to separate your personal relationship with your ex from your co-parenting one.

It might be helpful to think of your relationship with your ex as something entirely new, a relationship primarily focused on the well-being of your children.

Your marriage may be over, but your family is not.

This is why we offer five positive co-parenting tips to help you work with your ex to raise happy healthy kids. 

We also talk about the unique challenges of co-parenting with a toxic ex (a.k.a a narcissist!). Learn how to deal and make a difficult situation easier by using an awesome tool that’s recommended by many courtroom judges.

 

Co-parenting tips
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Why Positive Co-Parenting Matters

Look, we’re going to come right out and say it. Co-parenting is HARD.

Why even put in all the work it’s going to take to sort things out? Because it matters to your kids.

The focus of co-parenting after divorce is to help your kids understand that your love for them will persist despite changing circumstances. That’s priority number one.

Kids can feel very unstable and unsure of the world following a break-up of their parents. Children whose parents are able to maintain a cooperative relationship:

  • Feel More Secure.  Kids who trust the love of both parents adjust more easily to new living situations and have better self-esteem.
  • Demonstrate Better Problem Solving. Why? Because they learn from their parents’ example of working together.
  • Are Mentally and Emotionally Healthier. Children who are exposed to conflict between co parents are more likely to develop issues such as anxiety, depression, or ADHD.

 

Related: Top Ten Helpful Parenting Books

 

The big takeaway here? As difficult as it can be, finding a way to peacefully co-parent with your ex will have positive impacts on your child’s happiness, stability, and future well-being.

 

Top 5 Positive Co-Parenting Tips

 

1. Have A Plan and Stick To It!

Developing a comprehensive parenting plan takes work, but it is totally worth the effort. Take time to establish boundaries, best practices and expectations with your ex.

Doing this will take a lot of the guesswork and miscommunication out of co-parenting.

Draw up a co-parenting agreement that outlines exchange procedures, how you’ll handle requests for time modifications, how and when you’ll communicate, and where you will maintain important information about the kids.

Then once you have a co-parenting plan in place stick to it! This ensures that your children don’t have to constantly re-adjust their expectations due to last minute changes.

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2. Make Respectful Communication A Priority

You may not be friends with your ex, after all you divorced for a reason, but that doesn’t mean you can’t treat each other civilly. Respect is essential for the health of any family.

You’ll need to let your hurt feelings and anger take a backseat to the needs of your kids.

Related: Different Parenting Styles? How To Get On The Same Page!

You might find that since your separation, some methods of communication don’t work for you anymore. It happens, don’t beat yourself up about it.

If phone calls and texts are causing stress and conflict, you might want to use a specialized communication platform like OurFamilyWizard, which was designed specifically to make communication with a co-parent clear and respectful.

 

3. Put Your Kids First

Putting your children’s needs first may seem obvious, but many couples say it can be hard to remember in the moment. Particularly of the split was messy.

But putting your children’s security and sense of stability first is key to a “successful” separation. So do whatever it takes, even if it means working with a family therapist to help you and your co-parent bring the conversation back to what is best for the children when your relationship problems start to heat up the discussion.

Putting your kids first also means you don’t put children in the middle. EVER. Don’t use your kids as messengers or go-between, it puts them smack dab in the center of your drama, which isn’t fair to them.

Related: 21 Ways To Stop Yelling At Kids

Also don’t say negative things about your ex in front of your kids, or make them feel like they have to choose between you. This is so damaging to a child’s well-being!

Your kids have a right to build a relationship with their other parent however it works best for them, without your influence.

 

4. Provide Consistent and Easy Transitions

The move from one household to the next, no matter the frequency, can be very difficult for children. Help make the transition easier on your kids.

Prepare them ahead of time. Remind them a day ahead of when they’ll be leaving. Help them pack so they don’t forget anything they’ll miss.

Always drop off, never pick up your child. It’s a good idea to avoid “taking” your child from your co-parent if it can be avoided so you don’t risk interrupting a special moment (and having the weirdness blamed on you). Drop off your child and have your ex do the same.

 

5. Keep Your Co-Parent In The Loop

One of the things that makes co-parenting so hard is there is a lot of FOMO (fear of missing out) on both sides of the fence.

If your kids are doing something special or fun, like riding on their first roller coaster, take a photo or video to share with your co-parent so they can experience the moment too.

Related: Top 12 Ways To Improve Your Parenting Skills Today

Let your kids know you’re doing this so they feel like their dad/mom was a part of it. Ask your ex to do the same for you.

For big events, like a graduation or playoff game, try your hardest to have both parents there. It means a lot to your kids.

 

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What If You’re Co-Parenting With A Toxic Ex?

This is such a trending topic we felt we had to address it. In fact, if you search “co-parenting” on Pinterest, “co-parenting with a narcissist” is the number one search result. Number six is “co-parenting with an asshole”. WTH?!! 

 

 

If your ex is a narcissistic co-parent you’re obviously not alone. You’re also going to be dealing with a high-conflict parenting situation.

These are the kind of custody cases where a co-parent is antagonistic, and purposely works to rile you up so they can get your attention and continue their hold over you.

Narcissists lack empathy for others. They take, but rarely give back in return.

They also tend to think of themselves as superior to most people, which leads them to rarely take responsibility for anything.

Related: When You’re Co-Parenting With A Narcissist

If this sounds familiar, some or all of our positive co-parenting tips may not work for you.

You need to take additional measures to protect yourself and your kids from being impacted by poor behavior on the part of your ex.

If healthy communication is not possible because one or both of you is too angry, hurt, or combative, you may need to use a less emotional means to share information, such as a co-parenting communication tool.

 

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A Co-Parenting Tool That Works

You need to keep some form of communication channel open with your ex. Not sharing information regarding your kids’ welfare ends up hurting them more than you. It also sets a really bad example of conflict resolution, which isn’t what you want.

The OurFamilyWizard website provides all the tools parents need to organize shared parenting duties and reduce conflict between them. Using a platform like this is one of our top co-parenting tips.

This co-parenting website is so effective, judges in all 50 states have ordered families to use it in certain contested custody cases.

With OurFamilyWizard you can:

  • Easily coordinate custody an visitation schedules.
  • Track and split expenses through an expense log.
  • Get documented reimbursements through OFWpay.
  • Keep your kids health and school records updated in an information bank.
  • Send secure messages that cannot be deleted or altered.
  • Get access to a TON of co parenting resources.

And that’s just a high level overview. OurFamilyWizard also serves as a reliable documentation source for court proceedings since all messaging is tamper-proof and stamped with the date, time, and name of the person who sent it.

No more he said/she said. If you communicate using this platform, it’s all right there.

 

What is successful co-parenting? At its most basic, it’s putting the needs and well being of your children ahead of everything else.

Of all the co-parenting tips we’ve shared with you, that is number one.

 

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