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Co-parenting with a new attitude

For many divorced parents, the primary focus in their lives is the children. Divorce is never easy, but it can be the most difficult for the kids. Many ex-spouses will try a variety of ways to make visitation and child custody work, but find they simply cannot get over the "emotional divorce." This is where you and your former spouse are always arguing - or at the very least - disagreeing. It can drag you down, but it also affects the children.

Even as you try to accept the fact that your marriage is over you still may feel as though you cannot get past all of the emotions the end of the marriage brought. Lashing out at your spouse, making unreasonable demands or bashing your child's other parent in front of them is not the way to handle what will be a long, ongoing relationship.

In order to help you figure out how to get along with your ex-spouse - for the sake of your children - the first step is simply to make sure you keep the arrangements you make. When you're supposed to meet to exchange the kids, be there on time. If your ex-spouse is picking them up, have them ready. This lets your children know that you and your ex are working together.

Next, deal with problems in such a way that your children always come first. If you have problems with how your child eats, sleeps, plays or interacts while in your ex-spouse's care, voice your opinion. However, remember that unless your children are in danger or are being neglected, your ex-spouse can have his or her own rules when the kids are there. Your child needs to feel like her or she is welcome and comfortable when staying at either house.

Finally, even if you don't agree on the parenting style of your ex, why not trust him or her to do the right thing. If you feel you must intervene, do so in a calm manner. Let your ex parent in his or her way and you parent in yours. Your children will watch to see what happens between the two of you. It's best not to show them that you are divided when it comes to raising them.

Co-parenting can be challenging. Calm, quiet logic can go a long way, but so can simply trusting your ex. Avoid making a huge deal out of little problems. Your life, and your children's life, will be much less stressful.

Source: huffingtonpost.com, "3 Co-Parenting Tips for a New and Improved Attitude" Tara Fass, Oct. 08, 2013

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