When it comes to co-parenting, many people find that the worst part is the tension between them and their ex-spouse. There may not be any way to completely eliminate this, but there are steps you can take to ease the tension to provide your children with the environment they need to thrive.

Here are five rules of co-parenting to keep in mind:

  • Realize that it’s not all about you: In addition to putting your children first, think about the way your ex-spouse is feeling. This approach gives you the ability to make more informed and courteous decisions.
  • Remain flexible: You want to follow your parenting agreement, but, at the same time, flexibility is a key to co-parenting success. For example, if your ex-spouse asks to change the day they visit with their children this week, don’t fight back if you can make it work with your schedule.
  • Don’t argue about everything: With co-parenting, there are going to be times when you argue. No matter how hard you try, there’s no way around this. However, you don’t want to turn everything into an argument. Disagreements are fine, as long as they don’t turn into serious battles.
  • Communication is key: Even if you had a messy divorce, you still need to communicate with your ex when co-parenting. You don’t have to do this face to face. You don’t even need to do it over the phone. If text message and email work best for you, there’s nothing wrong with using it to stay in touch. It may be impersonal, but that’s okay given the circumstances.
  • Don’t get in the way: There will be times when you feel poorly when your children are spending time with your ex. This may lead you to get in the way, such as by calling or texting your child. Resist the urge, as you don’t want your ex doing the same to you when you’re spending time with your children.

With these five tips guiding you, you’ll find it easier to make the most of the co-parenting experience.

If you’ve tried everything and your ex isn’t doing their part, you may need to take things to the next level. This could mean learning more about your legal rights in regard to the best way to enforce the parenting agreement.