How to co-parent with an ex
Regardless of age, co-parenting refers to a mutual agreement between both parents of a child wanting to play an active role in the child’s life. While shared decisions and interacting with your ex may seem like an impossible task, putting aside the relationship issues, especially after an unhealthy break-up, is the first step to a healthy co-parenting plan. Here’s more.
Developing a parenting plan
Parenting plans help minimise conflict by clearly setting out guidelines and expectations from both parents. The plan must include the needs of the children. Remember that a parenting plan works 50/50, so you need to ensure that you’re doing your part. A Children’s Court in your area can help you develop a parenting plan that works for both parents.
Set feelings aside
Successful co-parenting means that your own emotions, anger or hurt must be placed aside. This may be very difficult, especially if you left an abusive relationship.
It’s important to work on your healing first. Remember that healing means letting go of the past and allowing your ex to have a healthy relationship with the child, without the child being caught in the middle of conflict.
Peaceful and consistent communication with your ex is essential. Make the child the focus of every discussion you have with your ex.
It isn’t always necessary to meet your ex in person, speaking over the phone or exchanging texts or emails also works. The goal is to establish conflict-free communication.
The key to successful co-parenting is to separate the personal relationship with your ex from the co-parenting relationship. It may be helpful to start thinking of your relationship with your ex as a completely new one, one that’s completely about the well-being of your child, and not about either of you.
Co-parenting isn’t an easy task, but with mutual agreement and effort it can be possible. If you need support, you can reach out to organisations such as Family Life South Africa (FAMSA).
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