Working together with your ex to raise your children isn’t always easy. After all, you both probably have some unresolved issues from your marriage and divorce. However, you should work to set aside your complicated personal history in favor of doing the best thing for your children.
In the vast majority of divorce cases in North Carolina, the courts will order shared custody between the parents. Both parents will need to do their best to make decisions that focus on their children and attempt to minimize the impact of the divorce on the social and emotional well-being of the children.
You can expect to have to interact with your former spouse regularly for many years. You need to find a healthy way to interact with your ex and keep the peace. Agreeing with your ex on your standards and expectations for co-parenting can make working together to raise the children easier.
A thorough parenting plan outlines rules and expectations for the kids
Instability can complicate how divorce impacts children. If the rules are different at one house than the other, the children may have a harder time adjusting to a shared custody scenario. That is why it is so important for both parents to set rules and expectations together for the children.
For example, curfew should remain the same at both houses. Expectations regarding performance in school should also remain the same between parents. If two parents cannot agree on what they want from their children, the kids may use that discord to play one parent against the other.
Consistency is critical. It creates a more stable situation and helps the children understand what is expected of them. Working together with your ex to set reasonable and realistic rules and behavioral expectations for your children can help you both be better parents as everyone adjusts to life after the divorce. That’s why your parenting plan should detail expectations for both the parents and the children in your family.
Address co-parenting issues with one another, not the children
If you both agreed that 10 p.m. was the curfew for your middle school age child, but your kid comes home reporting that they stayed up until after midnight, it is common to feel upset or frustrated. However, you should not expose your child to your emotional reaction.
Instead, you should remind the child of the rule that both parents agreed on and ensure that you continue to enforce those rules and expectations. Later, when the children are not there to witness the conversation, you should do your best to bring up the discrepancies between your approaches and parenting to your ex.
If you don’t think you can remain calm in a face-to-face conversation, send an email or a text message. Don’t go into the situation looking for a fight. Instead, gently remind your ex of the standards you set in place together in your parenting plan. That way, you can maintain a civil relationship with your ex while also ensuring that the children have consistency between both homes.