So often you walk out of court, and now are expected to co-parent. What does that mean, and how to go about doing it.
What you are being asked to do is change a pattern of behavior that has not worked in the past. Most likely, you have fallen into an unsuccessful pattern, which if it hasn't already, will negatively impact your child.
Often we have to ask ourselves whether we are really keeping focused on the child. Sometimes both parents are focused on the child, but the conflict arises in a difference of parenting styles.
The following can help you remain steady and focused on child centered issues when dealing with your uncooperative co-parent.
Recognize you can’t change another person. Stop trying to change your co-parent and he/she will (eventually) stop trying to control you.
Keep your marital relationship issues separate. Divorce may be about “winning”, co parenting is not. The good co-parent relationship is about being able to decide together what is best for your children.
Give up the need to get his/her approval, to prove you are right, to get an apology.
Stick to the topic as hand. Keep it simple.
Avoid words like “always” and “never”. They diminish your conflict resolution skills by globalizing the issue.
Keep the conversations in the present. Do not bring up the past.
Leave sarcasm at the door. Pissing someone off never got them to agree with you.
Don’t get defensive or side tracked. If your co-parent is a dirty fighter- bringing up the past, calling you names, blaming, don’t get sucked into the fray.
Focus on your kids needs not your own.
Don’t play games. Be as accountable, responsible and reliable as you want your co-parent to be.
NEVER fight in front of your children, or involve them in any way in the conflict. This includes bad mouthing, sarcasm and even eye rolling.
Stay calm. Don’t raise your voice, even if your co-parent is screaming. Remember you do not have to emulate another person’s behavior. Raising your voice will escalate the acrimony.
It really does take two to fight. If your co-parent tries to bait you, ignore it and go back to #4.