Helpful Ways to Resolve Co-Parenting Conflicts
Co-parenting when a couple is not together may be one of the greatest challenges that parents may face. But when done right, it can make your children’s lives dramatically better. Whether you and the other parent are divorced, or you were never technically together, figuring out how to co-parent a shared child is a task that is well worth your time and effort.
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Have Clear-Cut Communication Rules
You can avoid a number of conflicts by setting and enforcing clear communication boundaries. These are necessary even if your co-parenting relationship is generally friendly. It’s far too easy for one person to get a little too comfortable and unintentionally upset the other, causing a co-parenting rift.
For example, you may wish to communicate primarily through text or email, limiting phone calls to emergencies and time-sensitive matters. You may also want to reinforce that you only want to communicate about the children and avoid personal or unrelated discussions.
If your co-parent has a tendency to become aggressive or make personal attacks, consider setting a boundary that you will not respond when the conversation takes a negative turn. While you can’t control their behavior, you can avoid making the situation worse and decide not to engage further.
Change How You View Your Co-Parent
In the workplace, nearly everyone has a coworker they just aren’t that fond of. Maybe they have a personal grievance or maybe they just rub each other the wrong way. But since they work together, they have to act professionally and be polite. That’s how you should view your co-parenting relationship if it’s generally negative or confrontational.
This isn’t a romantic relationship anymore (where there’s room for some passionate fights or heated disagreements). This is a relationship that exists solely to allow you both to remain in your children’s lives, which means that you have to keep your personal feelings for each other out of it.
If your co-parent wronged you during your relationship or directly caused the end of the marriage, try to mentally separate that behavior from their co-parenting role. That may give you the breathing room you need to communicate with them effectively.
Run Your Messages Through a Trusted Friend
If you’re about to send a message and you’re not sure if it’s appropriate, turn to a trusted friend or family member. Is it inflammatory? Will it make the situation with the co-parent better or worse? Is there a better way to word anything?
It’s easy to let unintentional sarcasm or resentment slip into communication, and entrusting a third party may allow you to tone down messages when necessary. It should go without saying, but make sure that the person you choose does not have any ties to your co-parent or their social circle.
Learn From Each Conflict
Learning to co-parent is a process. Unfortunately, it’s not something you can master just by listening to podcasts or reading books. It’s messy work, and mistakes will be made. After each conflict, set aside some time to reflect on disputes that happen and learn from them. Over time, negative personal feelings toward the other parent should fade and co-parenting will feel much more natural.
Try to Remember What You Are Working Toward
At times, you may feel like you and your co-parent are at odds, always on opposite sides. But at the end of the day, you both want what’s best for your children. You may have different ideas about what that means, but with time, communication, and perhaps mediators or other third parties, you can come to a point where you can peaceably parent your children together for the good of everyone.
Get the Family Law Assistance You Need with Spencer Law in Pensacola
Crystal Collins Spencer is committed to helping families navigate the challenges that come with family law concerns. You do not have to go through this alone. If you’re facing divorce, child custody challenges, or other issues, turn to our team. Call us at 850-912-8080 or fill out our online contact form to set up a personalized consultation.