Seven basic do’s and don’ts for co-parenting.
Don’t expect the other household to run like your own, do agree on some things that will be consistent in both homes. Rules and limitations can be different in both households, but it is important to keep some things consistent, such as be kind and courteous to everyone, do your homework before watching t.v. and bedtime at 8pm.
Don’t say anything negative about the other parent, do be respectful. There is nothing to be gained by criticizing the other parent to the children, vent to your friends not your kids. They need to feel safe and loved in both houses and they shouldn’t feel as if liking one parent will result in not being loved by the other.
Don’t make your children the messengers, do share important information directly with each other. Keep your kids out of the middle, they have enough to deal with going back and forth. Send notes with the children, or make phone calls to share important information.
Don’t leave important decisions to one person or the other, do attend important things together. Attend teacher conferences, medical appointments, or legal appointments together. Both of you need to be responsible and need to be aware of everything.
Don’t celebrate holidays and birthdays together, do include everyone at important milestone events and recognitions. It confuses kids when every holiday is celebrated as if the family were not divorced. Come up with a schedule that sets up who gets the kids on birthdays and annual events. Major milestones and successes such as graduations and weddings can be celebrated together.
Don’t expect the kids to be happy about shifting between houses. do expect to go out of your way to be helpful. It isn’t easy or ideal to have to move every week or every other weekend. You can ease the situation for the kids at least a little by helping them make sure they have what they need when they leave your home.
Don’t expect children to love your new partners, do model respect and accept that adults in both households do have some authority. This is usually the hardest one. You don’t choose your ex’s new partner and you may not like him/her or the way they interact with the kids. But as long as we’re talking about differences, not abuse, your children need you to resist the temptation to join in with them when they complain about dad’s or mom’s new love.
If you and your ex are struggling with co-parenting, we can help! We can work with you and your ex to improve your communication and teach you techniques and tools for making the transition more smoothly for the kids.
Call us to schedule an appointment! (813)244-1251