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Keeping tempers in check when co-parenting

After a divorce, one of the big tasks typically before parents is co-parenting. How divorced parents work together in their parenting following their split can have big impacts on the kids.

Co-parenting certainly has its challenges. With as emotionally-charged as things can be between divorced parents, it can sometimes be difficult to keep things civil and focused on the kids. But doing so can be key.

There are certain things that can be problematic when it comes to co-parenting. One is losing one's temper against one's ex. When tempers flare in a co-parenting relationship, it could lead to things like a parent engaging in rash actions, communication channels deteriorating between parents or parents making negative comments about each other when the children are around. All of these things can put considerable strain on a co-parenting relationship and have negative ramifications for the kids.  

Thus, taking appropriate efforts to keep one's temper in check, to avoid engaging in conduct that could cause tempers to flare and to get things back under control if tempers do flare can be important for a parent who is co-parenting children with their ex. Some of the things that may be able to help with these goals include:

  • Being aware of what sorts of things particularly test your temper and coming up with strategies for dealing with these temper triggers.
  • Keeping conversations with the ex centered on the children and away from unnecessary topics that are emotionally touchy.
  • Being a good listener in co-parenting conversations. 
  • Sincerely apologizing when you know you were in the wrong in a given argument or incident with your ex. This may help with diffusing a potentially temper-flaring situation. 

Another situation in which keeping one's temper can be important for a parent is when dealing with post-divorce child custody matters: such as child custody modification proceedings or disputes over child custody arrangement terms and whether they are being followed. When it comes to such legal matters, it can be vital for a parent to keep a clear head and stay focused on doing what is best for the kids. 

Source: The Huffington Post, "5 Common Post Divorce Parenting Mistakes," Hanif Virani, Feb. 19, 2016

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