Co-parenting can be challenging enough without one parent bringing bad behaviors into the situation. While anyone may make some mistakes in a post-divorce family, you do not want your actions to become toxic. After all, fighting with a co-parent can not only be hard on your children but also be both exhausting and expensive.
Tennessee family courts require parents to file parenting plans that address a variety of topics. If you cannot agree on the terms of the parenting plan, you may opt for mediation. While your family’s plan may offer a basic framework for raising your kids, your own actions do the most work. Here are three ways to not be a toxic co-parent:
- Do not bring drama to custody exchanges
Custody exchanges can be stressful for you, your former partner and your kids. Still, try not to bring drama with you to the exchange. By always being on time, keeping the exchange short and preparing your children, you foster a calm environment.
- Do not argue over everything
There are reasons you are no longer with your children’s other parent. If you have acrimonious feelings, you may have trouble avoiding arguments. While you are apt to disagree about some things, you should try your best to pick your battles. Then, when you do argue, try not to escalate the situation. Bad words, hurtful statements and little digs usually do not move debates forward.
- Do not deride your former partner
Even if you cannot stand your former partner, he or she is your children’s parent. Therefore, do not have conversations with the kids about your ex-spouse’s ill-advised behavior. If you have earnest gripes about your ex, there are official and more effective methods for addressing them.
Co-parenting in a post-divorce family often requires creative thinking and a bit of grace. By keeping toxic behaviors out of your co-parenting relationship, you increase the chances of raising your children in a nurturing environment.