One thing you never want to think about when having children is what will happen if you and your partner get divorced one day. Not often does either partner in a marriage consider the possibility of one-day co-parenting their children from separate households – but if that day comes there are a few things you can do to overcome the biggest challenges you will face raising your children with your ex.
Many families successfully co-parent their children – especially with blended families becoming more of a norm as divorce rates rise and people get remarried. However, if you do not address certain problems from the get-go, then you may run into more issues down the road that will be harder for you and your ex to figure out at the last minute.
Learn to Forgive Your Ex-Partner
One of the hardest parts of co-parenting is learning to forgive your ex. Whether they cheated on you, stole from you, or simply became someone you didn’t want to spend your life with anymore, you need to learn to forgive them for the past, so you can move on and have a successful future. This doesn’t mean that you forget whatever happened between you and your ex – you split up for a reason after all – but it does mean that you should be prepared to make things work for your children.
The last thing you need to do is talk badly about your ex in front of your children, or for them to overhear you spatting with them again. Once the divorce is finalized, children need their parents to find a way to forgive one another enough to move on and figure out a way to parent together, even if they couldn’t make their lives together work.
Compromise and Consistency is Key
There are many reasons that forgiving your ex is so important when you want to co-parent your child, but one of the biggest reasons is because compromise and consistency are the keys to a successful co-parenting adventure. Both parents must accept that from time to time, things will not go exactly how they want it to – so compromise is something you will need to expect early on. Whether it is disagreeing on a later curfew for the weekends, or whether or not they can stay the night at a certain friends house, you will need to be flexible, and so will your ex.
This leads right into the other necessity – consistency. Keeping things routine and consistent between households will prevent future issues both for the child and between the parents. If one parent is letting the child get away with anything they please, while the other expects a plethora of rules to be followed, and this can lead to trouble down the road. It is important that you agree, from the beginning, how certain things will go (such as going to friends houses, curfews, etc.)
Co-parenting is never as easy as some make it look. It can take a couple of years to really get into the swing of things with your new co-parenting lifestyle – but as long as you are able to forgive your ex so you can talk rationally, compromise and eventually ensure consistency between households, things will go just fine. If you or anyone you know may be in need of a family law attorney don’t wait until it’s too late to reach out.