Your child is at daycare and follows a basic schedule.  You want your child to follow that schedule at your house and at your co-parents.  

You put your child to bed at around the same time every night, including weekends, but your co-parent doesn’t.  You see your child being very tired during the week.  

You expect homework to be done first thing when your child comes home from school because you know if they wait, they’ll end up in tears the later the night goes on.  You want your child to do their homework right away at your co-parent’s house, too.  

The examples could go on and on.  You have a way of doing things that works.  It works for you and, more importantly, it works for your children.  You want this to continue at your co-parent’s house because you know it works for your children, so you write a well-worded message to your co-parent explaining that this works well at your house and that you think it would work well at theirs, too.  

Then what?  It’s met with no response or an angry message back.  

You put all this time and energy into creating a schedule that works and this is the response?  You’re probably thinking, “how am I supposed to work with someone like that?”  

When you go through a divorce or breakup and you become co-parents, this becomes one of the biggest complaints co-parents have.  

“She wants things her way all the time.”  

“He never listens to me.”  

There are many ways to fix this.  Below are my top 5 tips for solving one of the biggest arguments between co-parents.

  1. Be flexible.  When you are flexible and let your co-parent be a parent as well - even though they’re doing things differently than you - you create an environment where positive, open co-parenting can exist.  

  2. Ask for ideas.  What if there’s more than 1 right way to parent?  You both offer strengths that help in raising your children.  Pool your strengths, and better yet, even if something is not the strength of your co-parent, know that it only becomes a strength when you develop it.  

  3. Let it go.  If you know that your kids do better when homework is done right after school, but your ex is more flexible, let it go.  What ends up happening?  Your children learn a valuable lesson in how much easier it is to do homework right after school and your ex either makes changes or doesn’t.  Worried that your kids are melting down when they don’t have to?  Research shows that lessons they learn like this turn out to be the lessons they take with them longer in life, which means, it’s a good thing in the long-run.  

  4. Understand that your co-parent may take this personally.  Put yourself in your co-parent’s shoes.  If they came to you and said, “This works really well at my house, I recommend trying it at yours”, how would you take it?  Wouldn’t you feel it was a personal attack on your parenting skills?  Wouldn’t you feel as though they’re

  5. Create a communication plan.  If your ex takes it personally if you try to tell him/her what works at your house, that’s ok.  Create a communication plan that includes items that are acceptable to discuss or a plan to decide what works overall at both houses.  The more open the communication, the better the co-parenting relationship.

Is this an argument between you and your co-parent?  Is there something you could change to create an open co-parenting relationship?  Reply below and tell us what’s worked for you.  Let’s get a conversation going.

 

While it would be nice to have things the same at Mom's house and Dad's house, it's not always reality. In fact, think back to when you were together. Things weren't always the same then, either. When you've decided to pick your battles and you want to communicate effectively with your co-parent on them, you can learn how to do that in the Co-Parenting After Divorce videos. Click on the button below to learn more. 

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Kaern Becker, MA Life Coach