It’s no secret that co-parenting is not always an easy job. You and your ex most likely don’t see eye to eye on everything, and may have vastly different ways to parent your children. When you were together, you had to find common ground and compromise in order to raise your children. Now that the two of you no longer live together, you’re both free, for the most part, to parent your children in whatever way you see fit.
While this gives you free reign to parent in your own way, it also means that your ex is able to make decisions that you might not agree with, and that could cause tension. Fortunately, we have compiled the top 5 problems you will probably encounter while co-parenting, and how to solve them.
First, the overarching theme that typically exists when speaking about exes; inability to cooperate. With the newfound freedom your ex now has, he/she may be unwilling to take your advice on how your children should be handled. The best thing you can do when you’re first learning to co-parent, is to be polite. You can’t decide how your ex is going to act, but you can decide how you are going to react. Even if you are frustrated with a decision they have made, be polite to them. Showing your frustration usually doesn’t help solve anything.
The second problem you may encounter is establishing a consistent bed time for your children. While you may like to go to bed early, your ex may like to go to bed late. This can be a challenge for your children while they go between you and your ex’s home. Although the constant change in bed times may be hard on children, watching their parents fight about little things could be even more harmful. The best thing to do is allow your ex to choose the children’s bed time when they are with him/her and you choose the time when they are with you. Your children will eventually adapt and learn that things are different depending on which house they are at.
While we’re on the topic of consistency, a lack of consistency is a third problem you may encounter while co-parenting. Taking one home and splitting it into two can cause a lack of regularity, because you and your ex may not have always seen things the same way. The best thing to do is to talk to your ex about any problems you identify and work together to establish a routine. If your ex is unwilling to compromise, then the second best thing to do is to maintain routine in your own home. Let your children know exactly what to expect when they stay with you. This way, even if they can’t have consistency throughout their entire day, they can have it at one home.
The fourth problem typically present while working to co-parent is hearing your children talk about their time with your ex. While it may be hard to have them come back from your ex’s house and talk about the amazing time they had, it’s going to be even more difficult to deal with them withdrawing from you because they felt you didn’t want to listen to their stories. The best thing you can do is to be present with your children and actively listen to how their day was. If you need to vent, call a friend, but avoid shutting down the dialogue between you and your children.
Finally, while we’re talking about ex bashing, it’s extremely important to bash while your children aren’t around, and even more important not to bash your ex directly to your children. Involving them in the drama that surrounds you and your ex is extremely harmful to your children. Speaking to them about the annoying things your ex does, forces them to choose sides, and this is not their fight. Bring any problems you have directly to your ex, or to your friends while your children aren’t around. Let them have both parents without hearing about the drama the two of you may have.
There it is. Five issues you may encounter while trying to co-parent. Are you working on co- parenting with a difficult ex? Let us know how you solved any issues that came up in the comment section below!