How to Succeed at Coparenting
When people divorce, they are often so muddled, they can’t figure out how to succeed at coparenting. But here are some tips for how to set yourself – and your ex – on the path for success because your kids deserve it.
Take 24 hours to cool down before you react to something that pisses you off.
Close your eyes and consider how you want to experience your child’s wedding, graduation or other significant event in the future – how do you want that to feel and look, for your child?
How do you want your child to remember their important moments?
Do you think they want to remember parents fighting or sitting on opposite sides of the auditorium? Or would they want you to be sitting together in the same section?
At the same time, respect each other’s boundaries. Don’t take your co-parent’s desire to be friendly as an invitation to be friends.
Friendly means you can work together – it doesn’t mean I want to have family dinner all the time, or when you drop off the kids, I’m inviting you in.
Enjoy your down time, your time away from your kids. Don’t see it as a punishment. Don’t call them all the time to check up on them. See it as a gift you’re giving to your kids.
And to yourself.
Accept that your coparent isn’t going to do everything the same way you do. It doesn’t mean it’s wrong or bad.
Obviously, there are cases where it is wrong AND bad, but that should not be your first assumption.
Newly divorced moms especially have a hard time when they’re not seeing their kids everyday. It’s helpful in those cases, and can lead to a good coparenting relationship, if the parent who’s not feeling that way can understand their ex’s emotions, and gives them time to ease into the new routine.
Be as gracious to your ex as you want them to be to you.
There are no universal rules for good coparenting, for a parenting schedule, for how to coparent. Nothing is black and white.
Coparenting success is particular to every situation, life experience, emotion and family. That’s why a law that dictates automatic 50/50 parenting time is a terrible idea. It doesn’t take into account the human side of what you’re going through.
It’s nice when you acknowledge the other side. Remind the kinds of their other parent’s birthday or their other family’s special occasions. Even spring for a gift so your child doesn’t have to count their pennies to buy a gift. It’s not only gracious – it’s a teaching moment for your kids, too.
Don’t fret the little things. If money has been an issue between the two of you, paying bills and expenses for the kids, and you have a $3 copay at the pediatrician’s office, do you really have to ask for that $1.50?
Be comfortable with what you want to do. Don’t expect there to be equity on the other side.