Regardless of how your child custody dispute shakes out, you’re going to have to find a way to co-parent. For some, this is easy to do given that they’re on amicable terms with their child’s other parent. For others, though, the thought of co-parenting is stressful and frustrating.
But even when it seems like there’s no way to improve your co-parenting relationship, there are things that you can do to try to build your relationship with the other parent to the point that you can effectively focus on parenting strategies that support your child’s best interests.
What can you do to build a stronger co-parenting relationship?
You might feel like you’ve done everything you can to build your co-parenting relationship. But to ensure that you’re exhausting all of your options, you might want to look at each of the following strategies that you can implement to see if any of them may be beneficial to you:
- Find effective ways to communicate: A lot of co-parenting relationships fail because the parents can’t talk to each other without arguing. If you’re in that situation, you might want to think about alternative modes of communication. You might be able to reduce conflict by using text messages or apps that exist to help co-parents communicate. You can experiment with your options to make sure you find the most effective method for you and your child’s other parent.
- Don’t use your kid as a messenger: If you have a contentious co-parenting relationship, your child might end up caught in the middle. As a result, you might find it hard to avoid talking poorly about the other parent when your kid is around, and you might be tempted to use your child to send information to the other parent. But doing this can be harmful to both your co-parenting relationship and your child.
- Stay focused on your child’s best interests: It can be easy for disagreements to devolve into personal attacks against the other parent. But if you want to build a positive co-parenting relationship, you and the other parent will have to learn how to redirect those conversations toward what’s best for your child. This can be hard to do, but with some practice, you’ll get the hang of it and be able to encourage the other parent to do likewise.
- Ask for input: It might be clear that your child’s other parent wants to be active in your child’s life. Therefore, one way to build a positive relationship with the other parent is to loop them into decisions that implicate your child. By asking for their input, you can generate mutual respect that can go a long way in these matters.
- Seek consistency: One way to put you and your child’s other parent on an even playing field is to have consistency in parenting strategies. By following similar philosophies on things like discipline, bedtimes, and screen time, you can avoid your child displaying favoritism that then develops into animosity from one parent directed at the other.
What can you do if your co-parenting relationship continues to be strained?
We hope that these tips can help you build the effective co-parenting relationship that you want. But if you’ve tried everything and still can’t find common ground, the matter may need to be taken to court for some sort of custody modification, especially if your child is being harmed by the arrangement or your time is being unfairly limited with your child. This can be a difficult process so make sure you’re prepared before entering the legal arena.