When parents with young children decide to divorce or otherwise end a romantic relationship, they typically need to find a way to share their parental rights and responsibilities. A custody order or parenting plan is the end product of either intensive negotiations or family court litigation.
Of course, simply having a custody plan in writing does not ensure a workable co-parenting relationship for the two of you. You may recognize that an increase in conflict between you and your co-parent will inevitably cause increased stress for your children.
How can parents minimize conflict with one another after the end of their romantic relationship while they still share a parenting one?
Keep your communication calm
Many parents impose a written communication rule in the early stages of their relationship transition. Using a co-parenting app is a common choice, as it guarantees that all communication about the children will be in one place.
Both parents may minimize how emotional they are in their communications when they know there will be a permanent record, and it will be easier to resolve conflicts related to schedule changes when there is one record for all parenting matters.
Find an appropriate emotional outlet
You can’t simply repress your anger and sorrow about the end of your marriage. You need to let those emotions out in a healthy way, or they will bubble up and boil over unexpectedly. Many people find that one-on-one therapy helps them come to terms with it failed relationship, while others may want to attend support groups. Even art and writing can be a way for people to facilitate emotional healing so they can be calmer with their ex and more present for their children.
Make the kids your focus and priority
Many people could hold a grudge against a former partner for the rest of their lives if given the opportunity, but staying angry at the other parent of your children will benefit no one in your situation. Instead of resenting the other parent as someone who didn’t treat you right, look at them as someone who loves your children and offers an important form of support to them.
Rather than looking for ways to fight with them or punish them, start looking for ways to support the other parent and guide them to being the best parent for your children they can be. The right perspective and support can make a big difference for those trying to manage the stress of co-parenting gracefully.
Keeping the focus on your children and prioritizing emotional equilibrium during interactions with your other parent will both be critical for any parent trying to minimize the conflict in a co-parenting arrangement.