, Salem, MA


November 8, 2013

Tips to improve co-parenting


As difficult as co-parenting is for married couples, it’s even more challenging for many divorced couples. Communication is often tainted by financial strains, jealousy over ex-spouses’ new relationships and unresolved conflicts over marital issues long past. In this climate, the children end up losing and, unless parents decide to work together or compromise, often develop additional problems as a result of parent disagreements.

Tips to help separated and divorced parents co-parent effectively:

Separate feelings from behavior. Regardless of how angry parents are, emotions need to be kept at bay in front of the children. Parents need to find outlets for negative emotions that do not involve the children. Remember that parents who manage emotions do not allow ex-partners to dominate their parent-child interactions.

Children are not messengers. Using your child as a messenger is a set-up for them to feel caught in the middle. Inevitably, they will get something wrong and, in the process, you’ve thrown them in the center of the conflict.

Stay neutral. Communicating negative feelings about an ex in front of children can trigger them to feel that part of them is bad; after all, they are half your ex. Thus, parents need to refrain from making negative comments about each other.

Communicate with a neutral, business-like tone. When communicating with an ex, a detached tone is the most effective. Parents can make requests of each other, not demands.

Commit to ongoing communication. Communicating often shows interest and commitment to a child’s needs. Control conversations by keeping them kid-focused and away from anything personal.

Consistency. If possible, arrange a consistent schedule and routine that both parents adhere to. Don’t make changes without getting an ex’s support. Try to establish rules and discipline procedures that are similar across settings, including use of technology. When compromise and agreement do not seem possible, explain to the children that each parent makes the rules for their home.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Wednesday's Best Bets Best Bets for Wednesday, Aug. 20

    Looking for something to do this afternoon? Check out The Salem News' Best Bets.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Husband who relives past should focus on present Dear Abby: I'm married to the love of my life. I can't imagine loving a man more than I love "Wayne," and I know he feels the same about me. The problem is, he's always telling stories about things he has done, including past relationships, in graphi

    August 20, 2014

  • Dear Abby: Young man with heart scar has options for covering it up Dear Abby: You printed a letter from "Self-Conscious in Georgia" (May 15), a young man who is insecure about the scar from his heart surgery. I have had three surgeries for congenital defects, my first at 2 years old. Because many women's fashions ex

    August 19, 2014

  • Dear Abby: Angry wife resents husband for hiding news of his health Dear Abby: When my husband is sick or needs to have surgery, he refuses to tell his family and doesn't want me to. This puts me in a very awkward position. I'm damned if I do tell them because he will be upset with me, and damned if I don't because h

    August 18, 2014

  • Dear Abby: Romantics should come back to earth Dear Abby: I have been single for a couple of years. I have always been levelheaded when it comes to romance, but I'm finding myself unable to control my feelings about the new man I'm seeing. "Brent" is smart, intelligent, sweet and loving. We have

    August 16, 2014

  • North Shore religion calendar Saturday, Aug. 16 Church Yard Sale, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Our Lady of Fatima Church, 50 Walsh Ave., Peabody. Church-sponsored yard sale features home furnishings, clothing, children's items, furniture and more. Portuguese food will also be available. All

    August 16, 2014

  • North Shore religion news in brief The Church of the Holy Name is seeking artists and crafters to participate in the Fall Arts and Craft Fair on Saturday, Sept. 20, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the church, located at the corner of Monument Avenue and Thomas Road in Swampscott. A limited a

    August 16, 2014

  • This weekend's Best Bets Best Bets for Saturday, Aug. 16 and Sunday, Aug. 17

    Looking for something to do this weekend? Check out The Salem News' Best Bets.

    August 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • North Shore Gardener: Toad in your garden? That’s a good thing Q: There are several large toads -- some as big as a fist -- that live around the hosta on the shady side of my garden. They seem to especially like to be near the faucet, which sometimes leaks! Are they doing any harm? My small dog got one in his mo

    August 15, 2014

  • Dr. Kate's Parent Rap: Mission statement can help with co-parenting troubles More often than not, when I speak with parents today, they describe struggles with their children that originate in parenting conflicts. Parents often disagree when making daily decisions, and yet, they are steadfast in their beliefs that they share

    August 15, 2014

NDN Video
Comments Tracker