After a divorce, it can be tough to even want to see your ex again, let alone raise children with them. However, when you have kids, you need to find a way to successfully co-parent together. Co-parenting isn’t always easy, but it is the best thing for the kids.
If your first time co-parenting is this year or you just want to make improvements to your existing co-parenting relationship, don’t go into 2020 with just a general intent to improve the co-parenting relationship. Instead, try the following specific tips for more successful co-parenting in 2020.
Working on Giving Your Children a Sense of Security
One of your co-parenting priorities should be giving your kids a sense of security. Divorce can cause a shift in the family structure and your children’s living situation, leading to confusing emotions and a sense of insecurity in them.
The strain that your kids feel in life can impact their performance in school. Like a kind of “invisible backpack,” your children may try to bring the coping behaviors they’ve developed to handle their life at home into the classroom, and that doesn’t usually work. For example, if your child feels insecure at home and has become hyper-aware as a result, it will be tough for them to fit into the student role and solely focus on the schoolwork.
The upside here is that there are several ways to help your kids feel more secure. Start by setting and keeping a home and school schedule to give your kids a sense of normalcy and help them know what they can expect day to day. Starting some new traditions can also help foster security, as well as maintaining family relationships. This allows your kids to enjoy the security of having their parents both play a part in their lives
Create a Realistic Budget
When you are a co-parent, you need a budget for your home and you also have to coordinate with your ex to ensure major expenses, such as the children’s medical bills, are handled between you. To be prepared for the next year, make a household budget and speak to your ex about how you will handle large and/or shared costs.
If you have a tight budget, there are still ways to save money to boost your financial security. Cut down on unnecessary expenses and be creative. If, for example, the weekend family outing is to the mall or a movie, consider a walk in the park or a movie night at home. A Blu-ray disc and some microwave popcorn is a similar experience at a fraction of the cost of going to a theater.
Get Communication Going
Good communication is a must for solid co-parenting. While you may not want to talk to your ex, you do need to establish a way to communicate with them about the children in a way that doesn’t allow for conflict or confusion. Shared co-parenting apps can help, as these offer calendars you can both access and messaging systems that log everything. Remember to keep the conversation topic on the kids; if your ex wants to dredge up the past, politely end the conversation. Eventually, they will stop trying. If not, speak to your family law attorney about your options.
Take Some Time for Yourself
It’s tough being an effective parent when you’re not in a good physical and mental state. Make some time for yourself so you can fully invest yourself into the well being of your kids. Be sure to budget some time for some self-care. Try setting some positive goals for your health and taking part in activities you really enjoy.
Being a co-parent isn’t a walk in the park, but it is a part of your children’s well-being and happiness. Be ready for some tough conversations and hard work, but remember that if you are dedicated, you and your ex will make it work.