Working together with an ex-spouse isn’t always going to be easy. But when you have children together, the child custody agreement is going to require you to keep up contact with each other. Depending on the type of child custody arrangement you have, the contact might be minimal or very involved.
No matter what type of parenting model you use, there are bound to be conflicts about certain matters. Coming up with a plan about how you will handle these matters can help you to feel less stress about the issues that will creep up.
Determine the deal breakers
From the start of the new parenting relationship, you have to decide what points you are going to let go and which points you will stand your ground on. This is a big decision because it might have an impact on how often you will have to confront your ex. Typically, the things that you are willing to stand up for should be those that can impact the health or safety of your children. As you think about this, remember that you aren’t going to be able to always have things your way so save your battles for the decisions you feel very strongly about.
Plan your side of the discussion
Don’t get into a discussion about matters like these without having a plan. You need to think about what points you need to make when you speak to your ex. You also need to determine what concessions you can make during the discussion. For example, if you say your teen should be allowed to stay out until midnight for prom but your ex says 10 p.m., you might decide that you can compromise and say 11 p.m. Not all decisions will have concessions available, but you should be willing to be open to some negotiating if you want to make things work. You should also plan how to take a step back from the discussion if things get too intense.
Think about your children’s best interests
You need to keep your child’s best interests at the heart of the decisions you are making. Be sure that you remember that children are flexible, often more so than adults. They can usually adjust to different sets of rules. On a regular school day, they will usually go from house rules to school rules and back to house rules. If the child has more than one teacher, each classroom likely has a different set of rules.