Co-Parenting: How to put the children first

Divorce often takes a tremendous toll on a family, especially when the couple ending their marriage has children. Regardless of which parent is the managing conservator, Texas courts expect that both parents will continue to be a present and positive force in their kids’ lives.

Psychologists say even when children live in separate households, they can still thrive when co-parenting relationships avoid bitterness and anger. For many former spouses, that may be easier said than done. However, it’s crucial to remember that your children’s future is at stake.

Five tips for peaceful co-parenting in Texas

Kids learn about life and relationships from watching their parents. They observe how you interact with each other and the various ways – verbal and nonverbal – that you communicate. Even if you and your ex went through a contentious divorce, try to put those feelings aside and remember:

  • You’re still on the same team: Your differences aside, you are both invested in your children’s well-being, and you have to be united when it comes to their needs.
  • Consistency is a must: Working together means being consistent when making parenting decisions. Kids need stability and comfort. When a child lives in two households, adopt rules that are enforced in both homes and discuss consequences together if any are broken.
  • Compromise should be commonplace: Just as you likely didn’t agree on everything when you were married, conflict will no doubt exist in your co-parenting relationship. The key is to remain open-minded, communicate and work to find a middle ground.
  • Your child needs both of you: Every mom and dad, just like their child, is a unique individual. You have your strengths as a parent, and so does your ex. Respect those qualities and understand that you both have value even though you may dislike how your co-parent handles certain situations.
  • Instill core values: One way to avoid nit-picking a co-parent is to agree on the values you want your kids to learn. Nearly every parent wants their child to be honest, kind, charitable, strong, knowledgeable and humble. When things get tough with your ex, think about the big picture.

Co-parenting is a two-way street

Parenting is challenging enough even when both parents live under the same roof. It gets tougher after a divorce and especially when you throw in a pandemic. But putting your child’s needs first means understanding that their future shouldn’t be determined by you and your ex-spouse’s past.