Top 10 Tips for Successful Co-Parenting
Lynette Galvin is our Accredited Family Law Specialist, Family Lawyer, and a step Mother. She has seen lots of co-parenting successes and lots of co-parenting fails (some of which hers, she says). She is therefore qualified to offer her top 10 tips for successful co-parenting as follows:
1. DON’T USE THE KIDS TO RELAY MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU.
2. DO SPEAK DIRECTLY TO YOUR CO-PARENT BUT KEEP IT BUSINESSLIKE AND TO THE POINT
3. NEVER RUBBISH THE OTHER PARENT TO THE KIDS OR IN THEIR HEARING
4. DO BE CONSIDERATE TOWARDS YOUR CO PARENT.
5. DO RESPECT THE CHILDREN’S TIME THEIR OTHER PARENT
6. DO YOUR CRYING IN THE SHOWER
7. DON’T DO ANYTHING THAT WOULD MAKE IT INTOLERABLE FOR YOUR CHILDREN TO HAVE YOU BOTH ATTEND THEIR WEDDINGS.
8. DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT LETTING ANOTHER ADULT’S ANGST AFFECT THE DECISIONS YOU MAKE IN YOUR CO PARENTING ARRANGEMENT WITH YOUR EX.
9. ALWAYS PLAN YOUR TIME WHEN THE KIDS ARE AWAY SO THAT YOU DON’T MOPE .
10. NEVER AIR YOUR GRIEVANCES ON FACEBOOK EVEN IF YOUR EX IS BLOCKED!
#1 DON’T USE THE KIDS TO RELAY MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU
Your kids want you to know these things:
He or she loves both parents equally. If one parent asks him to tell the other parent something, it puts stress on the child if the other parent reacts badly.
Co-parenting means working together. Kids won’t understand why they can talk to their other parent, but you cannot.
If you use your kids to relay messages they may accidentally get the message wrong..
If you haven’t got the courage to say something to the other parent, then why should the child be made to deliver the message?
It’s just too stressful for the children. They are still navigating the separation of their parents and probably the major upset of having to live some of each week in another home.
So, you need to find another way to communicate with their other parent. Try text, communication books, email, phone or even talking to them ( as long as you can keep it civil in front of the kids.
Remember, the children will grow up, and they will remember if you made them feel awful and stressed.
Be that parent who shields their children from adult issues and allows them to freely love both of their parents. They will benefit from it.
Here is an excellent booklet distributed by the Child Support Agency we give to many of our clients. It is called
“Me my kids and my ex.”(Click on the name to read the PDF.)
#2 DO SPEAK DIRECTLY TO YOUR CO-PARENT BUT KEEP IT BUSINESSLIKE AND TO THE POINT
Do speak directly to your co-parent BUT be businesslike and to the point. It’s so easy to slip into old patterns of communication when speaking to an ex partner. To avoid another row, keep your communication polite, but brief and businesslike. Stick to facts and ignore any attempt by the other parent to engage in argument.
You have to be able to talk to your co – parent a little bit, otherwise when things a that are out of the ordinary pop up, like your child has an extra rehearsal tomorrow, or that your child has been a bit off colour, then you will have to resort to writing and texting. This can be inconvenient or impractical and very artificial. This way of communicating should only be resorted to if the other parent cannot be trusted to respond civilly to a civil question or statement from you.
Speaking civilly to your child’s other parent allows for more flexibility and you can have an answer straight away if it needs a response. Also your child will see his parents talking to each other and this helps him feel better about himself. He or she may wonder otherwise why you don’t speak to the other parent. In the absence of an explanation, many children begin to fear that there is something wrong with the other parent. Separation without conflict is the best way to go when it comes to kids.
Remember that they are part you and part their other parent. If you show you dislike their other parent, they think it means that you dislike them too. It is very hard, I know, when the other parent is unreasonable or nasty or violent, but this is no excuse for you to express negative things about the parent to the children. Resist this at all costs and make sure that the children don’t hear anyone else belittling or criticising their other parent.