Good Tips for Co-Parenting After a Divorce or Breakup

When a couple divorces (or in the case where they were never married, breaks up), it can be difficult to get along after the breakup or divorce. However, when there are children involved, the couple has no choice but to stay in touch and try to get along after the divorce or break up. As much as one-half of this previous couple may want to ignore the other person and never see or speak to the other person again, the two will have to talk and work together for the sake of the children. Here are some good tips to make things easier for the sake of the kids.

1. Put the children first. Remember, you may not be a couple anymore, but you do have children together. They were innocent in the breakup, and they shouldn’t be pulled into the breakup or divorce. Keep the children out of the “adult” stuff, and put them first amongst all else. As much as you may dislike your former spouse or significant other, you still have to work with him or her for the sake of your children. Put your pride aside for this reason, if for nothing else.

2. You don’t have to be best friends with your ex, but you still have to talk to him or her. When you were a couple, you probably talked about everything with your ex. Now, the thought of speaking with him or her may repulse you. The good news is, you don’t have to talk to your ex all the time and about everything, but you do have to talk to your ex about your children. You can keep the topic of conversation limited to the children, but at the same time, don’t withhold information. Oftentimes, one parent may know more about the child’s day-to-day activities and schedule than another parent. Be open and honest about everything about your children. Don’t keep it from the other parent just because you aren’t together anymore.

3. Set some ground rules. Not all parents have the same parenting style. Even parents in the same relationship can have different parenting styles. And when the parenting is happening when the couple is still together, then everything (usually) runs like a smooth ship. But once parents split up, the two parenting styles can come out, and there are bound to be different things that happen in the two different houses of each parent. After the breakup, parents may not agree on everything the other parent does. But parents should at least agree on some ground rules. These ground rules can include what time is bedtime, what activities and sports the children will participate in, how much TV or computer time a child can have, what chores must be done, and so on. If parents can agree on some basic rule, things will go much more smoothly for both the parents, and the children when they transition from one parent’s house to the other.

4. Don’t put down the other parent. As much as you may dislike your ex, especially right after the breakup or divorce, they are still the parent of your children. For that reason, you shouldn’t be putting down that person or making disparaging comments about your ex, especially when your children are around. You should always foster and encourage the relationship between your ex and your children and also treat him or her with respect. You should also try to control extended family members in this respect, and don’t let them disparage your ex, for your children’s sake.

5. Figure out the logistics of functions and special events. As much as you may never want to see your ex again, you will see him or her at some point for a function or special event for your children. Remember, there will always be school plays, dance recitals, sports games, first communions, graduations, and other special events your children are involved in throughout the years that both you and your ex are bound to both attend. Talk to your ex about how you want to handle this. Do you both want to sit together and take photos together for the sake of the children, or do you want to sit apart, and take turns with your children at these events? Talk about it in advance, so it isn’t awkward when you get there, which could, of course, lead to tension for your children.

As they say, breaking up is hard to do, but when you have children with your ex, even after you break up, your ex will always be in your life one way or another. Remember, you are the adults in this situation, and you have to act like it for your children. Be responsible and take the high road. Work together as much as possible, and you both should always remember that this is all being done for your children.

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