Many issues can arise when co-parenting with an ex-spouse. Unfortunately, there is no single guide that can cover all potential problems that may arise, as every situation is unique based on circumstance.
However, there are a few obstacles that are common and very possible to overcome. Below we have highlighted three recurring problems with a few ways to approach handling them:
- Bad mouthing the other parent. You may dislike your ex-spouse, but you should never talk badly about him or her in front of your children. Children thrive best with a loving, supportive relationship between parents, even if they are separated. If you believe speaking positively simply isn’t an option for you, consider remaining silent to avoid the possibility of your children picking up on your negative perspective.
- Scheduling conflicts. You or your ex may have something come up at work that causes plans to change. Maybe one of you wants to go on a vacation with your children. Maybe you like bedtime to be at 8, while your ex lets the kids stay up until 10. The best way to overcome scheduling changes and conflicts is communication. If phone calls or texts easily devolve into arguments, online scheduling apps can help. Keep in mind that your willingness to compromise can save a lot of time and stress.
- Letting go. After divorcing, there are some things you can no longer control. You may not have as much supervision of your children as you did previously. The other parent will likely have different ways of parenting than you do. The important thing is to focus on what you have the ability to manage. Do your best to accept the things that are beyond your control.
Being able to anticipate problems is a good way to address and prevent them. For example, if you have kids and are in the middle of a divorce, working out a predetermined parenting schedule in writing can help to avoid scheduling conflicts before they arise. While planning ahead may seem tedious and unnecessary, having a plan for disaster will help to reduce stress and frustration in the end.