In Arkansas, many divorced parents end up with a joint custody arrangement for their children. If you are in that situation, then you know you will have to continue to work with your ex when it comes to your children. You may have many concerns about how this will work and how to make it easier on your children. The good news is that studies show that a positive co-parenting situation can have many benefits for kids, keeping them happy and healthy throughout the process. Here are some tips for keeping your co-parenting plan positive:
Remember that it is always about the children
No matter what happens between you and your ex, your children will do best with both of you in their lives. When you put that at the center of every decision you make, it will be easier to set your own feelings aside and look at the situation from your child’s point of view. Keep your arguments away from the kids and never use them as a go-between.
Agree to a structure and stick to it
After the upheaval of a divorce, many children need consistency and stability. Whatever parenting plan you and your ex agree to, or the court decides for you, try to stick to it the best you can. Of course, you need flexibility when unexpected things come up, but your children need to know what to expect. Agree on methods of pick up and drop off, school schedules and consistent rules such as bedtimes.
Use a co-parenting app
Today you can find many different apps for your phone to help you schedule and communicate with your ex. Find one that you both like and give it a try.
Be supportive of each other
Your ex may not be your best friend right now, but when he or she does well, your children will do well. Show each other support, respect and encouragement, especially in front of the children. Many families are going through difficult times right now, either financially or because of concern for their health or that of a loved one. Showing you still care about your ex’s well-being sends the message to your children that it’s okay for them to love both of you and not have to hide their feelings.
Respecting each other’s parenting style
You may not do everything exactly the same, and that is okay. Just as there are benefits to consistency between households, like bedtime and school schedules, your child may also benefit from some of the differences. As long as those differences don’t interfere with your parenting time, you should respect your ex’s time with the children.
Learning to co-parent with your ex may not happen overnight. With time and effort, however, your new family structure can be just as loving and nurturing as it was pre-divorce.