“I hear people talking about ‘co-parenting’ with my ex all this time, and I have to ask ‘is co-parenting with my ex even possible?'” We hear this question often as family law practitioners, and thankfully the answer is generally a simple one: “yes.” The best way to help children move on from a divorce is through co-parenting. Co-parenting allows both parents to guide the child’s development, as would be the case in an intact family. The primary difference being that in a co-parenting situation the child lives in two houses, with both parents spending meaningful time raising the child. For co-parenting to work, divorced spouses must be cooperative toward each other. Ex-spouses who are parents need to drop whatever bitterness, anger, and hostility they took into the divorce and focus on the future and doing what is best for their child. This is easier said than done, but a few strategies may help to make it more manageable.
First, a divorced spouse should find friends, a therapist, or someone other than their kids to whom they can express their feelings. An outside person can help keep the spouse from venting negative thoughts to their child and thereby sabotaging efforts at co-parenting. Children of divorce are entitled to a relationship with both parents and should not be dissuaded or alienated by one spouse from having contact with the other. Therapy, while not always for everyone, does present a controlled environment in which a person experiencing distress, anxiety, anger or any of a host of negative emotions and experiences can, with the help of an experienced and trained professional, be guided into a better understanding of their personal dynamic and hopefully into a place that allows them to be more understanding and empathetic of their co-parent’s situation.
Parents who have problems setting aside their feelings could also follow the co-parenting strategy of remaining child-focused. This strategy involves looking at photographs and other items featuring one’s children. Such items will remind a parent why it is important for them to place their children first and give co-parenting a chance. It may sound simplistic, but simply placing their children’s picture on the bathroom mirror as a reminder at the start and end of every day what should be the important focus of their life can go a long way towards greater focus and understanding of the concept that as parents we are here to facilitate what is best for them.
A third strategy to make co-parenting manageable is to commit to regular and consistent communication with the ex-spouse. Ex’s who communicate on a regular and consistent basis will find it easier to coordinate their parenting efforts, which can only make things better for the children. They will also make it clear to children that they are united in supporting the children’s best interests. This unity can go a long way in helping children to feel safe and secure in the wake of a divorce. An excellent means of ensuring regular and consistent communication on child-related issues as well as providing a basis for accountability is through the use of the services of Our Family Wizard®. Our Family Wizard® is an Internet-based calendaring and messaging system (and a whole lot more) that provides a permanent and credible record of calendaring and communication that will not only make a co-parent’s life much easier in this regard, it will also allow for a level of comfort and ease in the parents the usual dynamic of suspicion and mistrust simply has no room to take hold and grow, thus keeping the peace between the parents, which is always a better situation for the kids. The Internet address for this service is www.ourfamilywizard.com.
As can be seen, the answer to the question “will I ever be able to co-parent with my ex-spouse” can most definitely be answered with a resounding “yes.”