Making the decision to break up and separate can be especially difficult when you have kids together.
Co-parenting and raising your kids together even though you’re no longer romantically involved can help, depending on your family dynamics. But even if it’s what you think is best, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the prospect.
We asked experts what they think makes this process easier. Read on for our top tips.
1. Work As a Team
A Family Lawyer in Toronto said that to successfully co-parent, you have to work as a team. Acting as a team doesn’t necessarily mean that you both magically agree on everything, but you should align your expectations of each other and your children. This might mean having curfew times or general rules, which may apply to both households.
One crucial tip here is to never insult your ex in front of your kids. Your children will feel in an awkward position and will feel they have to choose a side. Think of co-parenting teamwork as benefiting your children, and to have the right mindset, keep your eyes on the end goal.
Let your kids take the lead and empower them to make their own decisions. If they want to take their favorite toy to your ex’s house, let them do that, even if it’s expensive. If it doesn’t return immediately to your house, this is alright — it gives your children a sense of security and belonging.
Consider clearing your schedule every month for a meeting with your ex. This doesn’t have to last ages but should be a catch-up on your kids’ progress and how each of you can help them. You can discuss their schoolwork, any strategies you find effective, and what problems your child(ren) may be having.
Our experts have said to keep these meetings on track, you should:
- Speak to your ex as if they’re a colleague: with respect and patience
- Don’t be condescending
- Allow each other time to speak by not talking over each other
Sharing a calendar is a great way to make sure events don’t clash and that both parents are up to speed with what their kids are doing. This avoids any double booking and also provides a sense of teamwork. If appropriate, you can also add your children to the shared agenda.
Working as a team and sharing events is a great way to avoid conflicts, according to our expert. It’s a way of escaping being in the dark concerning parties or gatherings, and more than that – it means you will never forget your turn carpooling ever again.
If you’re struggling to navigate being separated and raising your kids together, consider seeing a therapist who specializes in co-parenting. If you or your ex feels unheard, often a professional can guide and mediate between both of you to soothe the situation and find a workable solution.
Therapy sessions may not be easy, but putting the work and effort in might see a positive impact on your relationship with your ex as well as your kids.
Separating and having joint custody of your children isn’t easy. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed, but by following our five top tips, the process may seem a little easier.
Co-parenting may not be the solution for every family. After all, this level of teamwork requires respect and patience. However, if co-parenting is safe, it could make your family stronger, benefiting both the children and parents themselves.