Just because you get a divorce does not necessarily mean you completely end any type of relationship with your ex. In fact, you may end up co-parenting with your former spouse. You may need to navigate this new family dynamic that requires you to cooperate and put your children first before any resentment or anger towards the other parent.

Ending your marriage may be full of conflicts and negative emotions that make co-parenting seem nearly impossible. But as a dedicated parent, you can put your own feelings aside for your children’s benefit. Here are some suggestions for having a successful co-parenting relationship.

Practice empathy

Empathy should be one of your core guiding principles as a co-parent. It is not about getting what you want all the time. You must consider what is best for your kids. Additionally, you will need to understand where your former spouse is coming from.

Communicate directly with your ex

As a co-parent, it can be tempting to use your children as messengers, especially when they are older. But this is the wrong way to go about it. Your children may not be able to understand what you are saying. Develop a clear and consistent method of communication with the other parent so you are both on the same page.

Be flexible with schedules 

Parenting plans and custody orders are important to follow. Neither you nor your ex should consistently defy these arrangements. However, sometimes what is written on paper is not feasible. Maybe there is an activity that pops up on a certain day that your ex wants to enjoy with the kids. Perhaps there is simply a scheduling conflict every now and then. Try not to make a big deal out of small compromises. You should especially avoid arguing about visitation in front of your kids. Learning when to compromise and let things go is an important lesson as a co-parent.