Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

4 ways to encourage a positive co-parenting relationship

Co-parenting enables parents to continue to work together to raise the children even after they are divorced. One of the most important things that you need to do right away is get the parenting plan together. This sets the standard for what is going to happen for the duration of the child's time at home.

On top of getting the agreement together, you need to make decisions about how you will handle yourself in the interactions with your children and your ex. Going into the situation with an open mind and a positive attitude can help immensely.

Always discuss major issues

Major decisions about your children must be made as a team. Rules, such as those for getting homework done, bedtime and screen time should be discussed so that they can remain consistent between both homes. Chores and discipline can also be handled as a team.

Communicate effectively

Respectful communication is always necessary between co-parents and children should never be used as messengers. Remember that written communication might not come across the same way as it does when it is spoken. You should also have a plan for how you will handle disagreements. One factor to include in this is that either party can take a step back until the situation calms down.

Choose your words carefully

Whether you are speaking to your children or someone else, you need to ensure that you are choosing your words carefully. Never speak negatively about your ex, especially when the children can hear. In fact, it is a good idea to point out the positive attributes about your ex to your children. Maybe they are great at helping the kids understand math concepts or working with them on sports skills. Speak to your children about this in a positive way.

Encourage your children

Your children must be at the heart of everything you do. Encourage them to continue on with activities that they enjoy and to keep up friendships that mean a lot to them. Remind them that they don't have to choose one parent over the other and that they can still have meaningful relationships with both sides of the family.

The goal of co-parenting is to have well-adjusted children who can thrive regardless of the changes they go through. Having a solid parenting plan can make all of this easier because you and your ex can work together toward a common goal.

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Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

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