The relationship is over, the divorce final, but the connection with your ex remains forever in your child. Becoming an effective co-parent is not about you, your ex, or your feelings -- it’s about providing safety, security, predictability, and love to your child. Realistically, raising your child with an ex can be frustrating, time-consuming, and exhausting; however, it doesn’t have to be. Through an effective co-parenting relationship, your children will realize that they are the most important part of their parent’s lives.
Be on the Same Team
Co-parenting effectively means you and your ex must decide that the child’s physical and emotional well-being is the ultimate goal. Even though you are no longer together, you are both still on “team child”. You don’t have to like your teammate, but you do have to work as a unit to present as a united front.
Together Everyone Achieves More – if the co-parenting team works together, the sky is the limit for the child. This means working as a unit to communicate, be organized, and be supportive of each other.
To work as a team, you must communicate effectively and often. Communication need not be only verbal, electronic communication is also a viable way to exchange information about your child. To be an appropriate co-parent, each parent must commit to providing timely, accurate, and complete information while keeping the shared information focused on the child in a respectful and cooperative manner.
If you would want your ex to share information with you, then you should respect your teammate and share the same in-depth information with them. A team that communicates effectively and efficiently will maintain high expectations and strive toward the specific goal of a happy, safe child.
Organization is necessary to provide harmonious homes with minimal chaos to the child’s life. An organized team lends itself to clear priorities and consistency for your child as well as allowing for clear financial responsibilities and obligations. An organized team easily establishes rules, discipline, and schedules that will make decision-making easier.
With a bit of organization, it is also able to find compromise when a tense situation arises. An organized team can also make transitions and visitations easier for the child. An organized transition helps the child anticipate the coming change, ensures the child is traveling or visiting with familiar toys, blankets, and pictures, and allows the child to establish a routine.
Support Each Other
The most difficult step of Team Child is the ability to support one another while advocating for the child. There is little doubt that there will be hard feelings and anger about the situation that led to your breakup. In order to support one another, it will be necessary to make a concerted effort to rebuild trust and be flexible.
An effective team does not speak ill of one another nor do they argue in front of the child. Each member of the team will be honest with the child, but not share information that isn’t age-appropriate. Each parent will be capable of attending a child-centered event without tension being obvious to the child. As a general rule, children of co-parents who support one another believe their parents work well together and know that their parents love them unconditionally.
To be the most successful ‘Team Child’ possible, it is often prudent to enlist the help of a neutral third party. The advocates at Griffith, Young & Lass can help articulate the strengths of each side and come to an agreement that will serve the best interests of your child.