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Working with an ex as a co-parent takes a lot of work

Now that you and your child's other parent aren't together, you have to figure out how to navigate the new relationship. The challenge can be considerable if you and your ex opt for a co-parent relationship instead of the more traditional parallel parenting method.

The co-parenting method means that both parents work together to keep things consistent for the children. This requires a lot of communication, negotiation and teamwork, which can be difficult since you are having to deal with your ex.

Keep communication productive

When you and your ex are trying to work through issues, you must keep communication effective and productive. To do this, you need to keep the focus on the issues at hand. In some cases, keeping the tone business-like might be a good idea. This ensures you are being courteous and respectful. You may need to take a few minutes or longer to calm down if the situation starts to get particularly heated. A discussion that is devolving isn't likely going to solve anything and could lead to animosity if you don't take a break.

Keep your child as the focus

The purpose of co-parenting is to do what is best for the children. You can't worry about what is easier for you or your ex or try to punish your ex. Instead, think about what your child wants and needs. Make decisions based on how each option will impact your child. If the focus starts to shift away from your child, it is time to bring the discussion back to where it belongs.

Keep track of matters

Every decision that you make as co-parents needs to be respected. If you have any questions, you need to get them clarified. Making assumptions in this type of situation can make it difficult to continue parenting together. This can include anything from what time your ex will pick up your child or what time the Christmas play starts. It might even include school schedules, extracurricular activity practices and similar points. Rules for the child or vacation plans might also need clarification.

Keep the past where it belongs

You might find that you want to bring up things that happened in the past, but this is usually counterproductive. Instead, take the time to keep the focus on the present issue. This can help you and your ex to handle the current matter without anything else clouding the judgement calls you need to make.

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