5 Tips for More Peaceful Co-Parenting

Navigating Co-Parenting Post-Divorce

The transition between marriage, separation, and divorce is difficult enough, and sharing children together adds another layer of complexity. As parents, you will likely be interacting with your ex for many years to come. While you certainly don’t have to be best friends, having a civil, respectful dynamic with your co-parent will not only benefit your child(ren), but also make for a much more peaceful experience for you.

Here are five tips on how to navigate the delicate (and sometimes, rocky) waters of co-parenting with your ex-partner:

1. Leave the Pettiness at the Door. This is one of the most important rules but can also be one of the hardest to implement. This is especially true if your ex likes to get under your skin to upset you or to make you look bad in front of the kids. The same goes for you too though—save the petty comments that you know will rile up your ex. It does no good, leaves everyone in a bad mood, and the kids will see this behavior and think it’s okay when it’s not. By taking the higher road, you are putting the well-being of your kiddos first and modeling a positive example for them moving into adulthood. When they go low, you go high.

2. Mantras, Mantras, Mantras
While the pettiness on your side is avoidable, you can’t control your ex’s behavior. If/when they go for the low blows, having a go-to phrase, mantra, or grounding exercise can be extremely beneficial to regulate your nervous system and prevent a negative reaction from you in the moment. It can be as simple as saying to yourself, “My children are my priority,” or “You have no power here,” like Glinda tells the Wicked Witch of the West in Munchkinland in The Wizard of Oz. After the encounter, try several rounds of box breathing to help steady your fried nerves—inhale for 5, hold for 5, exhale for 5, hold for 5 and repeat.

3. Communication is Key
Use the “Golden Rule.” If you want to know certain information about your children, then assume that your ex would want to know this information too and provide it to them timely and with enough details to minimize follow-up. Providing common co-parenting courtesy and transparency such as providing vacation travel details and information about major changes in your own life can build trust, make your co-parent much more likely to reciprocate, and help to minimize future conflict.

4. Apps to Bridge the Gaps
Technology can be extremely useful to help keep the lines of communication open with your co-parent while also implementing healthy boundaries. Some of our favorite co-parenting apps are Our Family Wizard (“the gold standard”) and AppClose (free!) We recommend shutting notifications on these apps OFF and setting aside a certain time of day or night when you aren’t distracted by work and family responsibilities to review and respond to messages in the app. This way, your whole workday won’t be derailed if you receive a nastygram from your ex that catches you off guard.

5. Family Activities
We saved the trickiest tip for last and acknowledge that this is not possible in all circumstances. If you and your co-parent are able to participate in joint events together for your children, this can be extremely beneficial. Whether it’s supporting them at their soccer games, enjoying dinner together on a child’s birthday, or even planning a weekend outing at the playground or at an arcade, being able to show your children that you and your co-parent are still a united front for their happiness can do wonders to ease their anxieties.

*BONUS* Pick Your Battles Wisely
Don’t disagree with your ex just to be disagreeable. When you choose to make a mountain out of a molehill over minor issues, your objection to something that you care strongly about will be diluted. We’re not implying that you have to acquiesce to everything and be a doormat, just that you spare yourself an argument if the implications are minimal.

*BONUS* Managing Expectations
You and your co-parent are no longer in a romantic relationship together for a reason. In fact, it is not uncommon for differences in parenting styles to contribute to a separation. But just because you are no longer married does not mean that your ex is suddenly going to change and the two of you will now harmoniously co-parent together from different homes. Conflict arises between parents in intact marriages and they are bound to occur between divorced parents. It’s important to acknowledge and expect that disagreements will be inevitable and, ultimately, the only thing that you can control is your interactions with your child(ren) during your parenting time. Trust us, this attitude will save you a lot of disappointment in the long run.

Send us an inquiry or email us at info@foundationsfamilylaw.com if you have any questions or to schedule a consultation.

Complimentary Guide

Top Ten Ways to Reduce Your Legal Fees in Family Law Cases

Not ready to chat with us? The guide is a great place to start. Enter your name and email below to download the guide instantly. You'll also receive occasional email updates.

Scroll to Top