Couples who don’t have children get to make a clean break when they divorce and may never have to see each other again. Couples with kids will probably see each other not just until the children become adults but occasionally on special days for the rest of their lives.
Accepting the reality that you will still have to interact is a crucial first step in trying to develop a healthy and positive co-parenting relationship. Some people focus so much energy on fighting reality and resenting custody arrangements that they don’t invest in repairing their relationship with their ex. The children will be the ones to suffer in that situation.
By taking a few simple steps to establish healthy communication habits, you and your ex can become more effective co-parents.
Always keep the focus on the kids
Especially when your divorce is still fresh, seeing one another can stir up intense emotions. You don’t have to tell your ex how you feel about them or what has happened to your life. What you do need to do is talk about what happened at school with the kids or any appointments they have when your ex has custody. As long as you keep the focus on the children, you should be able to keep things calm and rational.
Consider using a co-parenting app until you re-stabilize your dynamic
Even the best-intentioned parents can find themselves getting into blow-up fights during custody exchanges or at the end of video calls with their kids.
To avoid damaging your relationship and stressing out your kids, you can keep all of the major communication restricted to a co-parenting app. That way, not only will both of you feel motivated to stay calm and rational in your communications, but you will also have a single place to reference the records of your discussions and any changes to your parenting schedule.
Look for the good and acknowledge it
It is far too easy to see your ex as a bad former spouse and much harder to view them as a loving parent. The truth is that they can be both of those things at the same time.
Seeing how your spouse tries to make things work with your kids can help you see them in a more positive light. Acknowledging when they go above and beyond for the kids not only helps them feel validated as a parent but can also help repair your relationship.
Hopefully, by keeping things positive and focused on the kids, your relationship may become friendly and you will be able to turn to one another for support amid the complications of shared custody.