When you and the other parent were a couple, your interactions as a couple and as parents were bound together. After separation and divorce, you move away from the
couple relationship, and you need to work at forming a new relationship as co-parents.
The key feature of co-parenting relationships is that they focus on what’s best for the children. There are many kinds of co-parenting relationships. The nature of your co-parenting
relationship will depend on many factors, including how well you and the other parent get along. For example, some parents are able to meet face-to-face to discuss the children.
Others find this difficult and prefer to communicate by e-mail, only when necessary.
Some important elements of a co-parenting relationship are
■ You and the other parent can only expect each other to do what is agreed to verbally or in writing.
■ Meetings between you and the other parent are relatively formal—they take place in a neutral location (for example, a coffee shop) at specific times, and you usually have a list of
issues to discuss.
■ You and the other parent are not personally or emotional involved with one another.
■ You and the other parent share little personal information with each other, unless it is related to parenting.
The change from a couple to a co-parenting relationship won’t happen right away. You will need to work hard at it. It may take a while before you and the other parent learn to communicate only as co-parents.
As you learn to co-parent, remember to
■ work to put aside your anger and cooperate to put your children’s needs first
■ be polite and treat the other parent with respect
■ avoid sarcasm, rudeness and insults.
There are many professionals who can help you work on your co-parenting relationship.
When you’re co-parenting, tensions can run high, so it’s important to have someone to talk to when you’re going through difficult times. This could be a trusted religious leader in your community, a close friend that is able to help you see both sides clearly, or even a supportive Facebook group.