Navigating Co-parenting Challenges with Grace

The stresses of divorce, separation, or general detachment from your child’s other parent can seem overwhelming in the immediate aftermath of the decision to go your separate ways. However, these stresses generally tend to fade exponentially over time. What will remain over time is the connection you have rooted in your mutual child or children.

Whatever your child custody arrangements look like, co-parenting is a uniquely challenging prospect. As long as you both remain in your minor child’s life, you will likely be required to communicate and make mutual decisions about your child’s life and general well-being.

Each of you will likely have strong opinions about how your child is parented. And both of you will need to navigate the other’s life choices when it comes to your child’s care. This can cause understandable tension. The best way to approach this relationship is through clear and calm communication.

Communication between co-parents is best achieved when two things occur. First, both parents must keep their child’s best interests at the forefront of their minds. Second, it is often quite beneficial to treat your co-parent as a business partner rather than your “ex” when it comes to your child. Both of these tactics may help you both navigate your co-parenting communications with calm focus and perspective.

This is not to say that family tensions and joys will forever be absent from your co-parenting relationship. But keeping strong emotions in check and keeping your child at the center of your focus will help to enable you and your co-parent to effectively navigate the new priorities of your relationship with more peace and grace than many co-parenting couples tend to achieve.

Source: Huffington Post, “Co-Parenting Advice To Count On,” Erin Mantz, Jan. 24, 2013

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