As you move forward with your separate lives, remember that it is in your, as well as in your children’s, best interest to improve your relationship with your ex. Here are 7 tips which you may find helpful.
- Ask for the other person’s opinion: The fairly simple technique of asking your spouse for his or her thoughts can often develop positive communications between the two of you. Even if it is on a small issue, ask for your ex’s input and show that you value their opinion.
- Apologize: When you’re sorry about something, take the time to apologize sincerely — even if the incident happened in the past. Apologizing can be a very powerful tool in helping to improve your relationship.
- Take some things with a grain of salt: If a special outing with your ex is going to cut into your time with your children by an hour, let it be. Remember that it’s all about what is best for your children; plus, when you show flexibility, your ex may be more likely to be flexible with you at another time.
- Respect can go a long way: Good manners should be the foundation for co-parenting as they are for any other relationship. They also set a good example for your children. Being considerate and respectful of one another, letting your ex know for example about school events or sharing other important information regarding your children’s lives and activities, will also benefit your children.
- Keep the lines of communication open: It will be difficult and stressful sometimes, but if you disagree about something important like a medical question or the choice of a school for your children, you will still need to continue to communicate about the topic until you find a solution. If you can’t come to an agreement, consult with a professional, a therapist or work it out with the help of a mediator. What is most important is to never discuss your differences of opinion with your children nor in front of them.
- Don’t spend too much energy on arguing about small things: If you want your children in bed by 7:30pm and your ex allows them to stay up until 8:00pm, let it go and save your energy for the bigger issues.
- Compromise: Once in awhile, one of you may have to accept the other’s point of view. It may not always be your first choice, but compromise allows you to resolve a situation and will help both of you to be more flexible in the future.
You may discover that when handled constructively, conflict can provide an opportunity to strengthen the bond between you and your ex when it comes to parenting.
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