Let me start by saying positive co-parenting is all about you doing your part to positively co-parent. That doesn’t mean your co-parent will be doing the same thing. You are only in control of you.
There’s a lot that gets in the way of positive co-parenting, which is why I’d like to make it simple. Positive co-parenting on your end is possible simply by paying attention to these 4 pillars:
Self Care. I realize that this doesn’t seem like an important topic when it comes to positive co-parenting, but hear me out here. If you are getting nastygrams from your co-parent, or your co-parent isn’t communicating with you at all, it’s frustrating! If you aren’t taking care of yourself, it’s a lot harder to deal with the frustrations that come. You’re more prone to lashing out in anger if you aren’t practicing self-care.
Don’t Engage. You may want to get revenge. You may want to put your co-parent in their place. You may want to show them just how awful they are. When you choose to engage, you choose to end any chance at positive co-parenting. Again, you can’t control your co-parent, but you can control you and if YOU’RE working towards positive co-parenting, it gets you farther than if both of you are engaging. Learning to pick your battles and then communicating positively will get you farther than if both of you are communicating negatively.
Flexibility and Boundaries. It doesn’t feel like these 2 go together, but let me explain. Even if you have the most robust court order there is, it will not cover every single situation. In all my years of reviewing court orders, I have yet to see one cover every possible situation. Even if the court order covers a situation, it may not be in your childrens best interest and flexibility is required. Being flexible is important for your children because their lives are not confined to a court order. With that said, creating boundaries can help ensure you and your children aren’t taken advantage of. Just be careful of boundaries just to make things harder for your co-parent.
Accept differences. Mom’s house will be different from Dad’s house. Even in the best situation, Mom and Dad will handle things differently. In fact, this was the case when you two were together. Each of you handled things differently there and you’ll continue to handle things differently. In many cases, this is ok! Accept that your co-parent won’t do the same things you will and it’ll stress you out much less when you hear about it.
These are the 4 pillars I’ve come up with in working with hundreds of co-parents over the years. If you focus on these, it can reduce your stress, increase your confidence in your co-parenting, and reduce arguments.
Co-Parenting is hard. There's no getting around it. Sometimes its hard to know what you should do. The Co-Parenting After Divorce course can help you with that. It talks about each of these 4 pillars in more detail. Click on the button below to learn more.