The involvement of a child suggests that you can’t make a clean break with your ex-spouse. Exploring co-parenting is one thing to consider at this stage.
You need to consider how you can make communicating with them and raising your child/ren together in the healthiest way possible.
Are you in Nigeria and looking for ways to make co-parenting work for you? You’ve clicked on the right link.
Here are few tips that can help you make co-parenting work for you.
1. Maintain A Positive Relationship With Your Ex
It’s normal that you may still have a lot of personal issues with your ex. Perhaps, wrongdoing of theirs led to your split up.
In order to move forward, however, you need to learn to embrace forgiveness.
Now that you’re not together with your husband, you need to take a pragmatic view that places your child above all else.
This starts from forgiving your ex of their transgressions even if they are yet to apologise to you.
2. Set The Conversational Tone
It’s totally normal to have some trouble separating your emotions from your custodial relationship with your ex.
If this is the case for you, it might help to try thinking of them as a colleague rather than a personal relationship with your ‘business’ being the care of your child.
Maintain a professional tone, and stay focused on pragmatic goals.
Also, especially on touchy subjects, try to make requests rather than demands or statements of fact.
For example, instead of saying “I need you to take the kid(s) on weekends,” say “Would you be willing to take the kids on weekends?
My friends asked me to join a crafts workshop and I would like to do so.”
Practice active listening to demonstrate to your ex that you hear them, understand, or at least respect their points of view.
As often as is needed, ask clarifying questions and maintain sincere body language when in conversation with them.
If need be, set boundaries to guide your communications, especially if you and your ex-partner tend to argue a lot.
Communicating through SMS or email may keep you from getting caught up in personal emotions vs. phone calls and WhatsApp chats, for example.
3. Create A Parenting Plan
A parenting plan is a document that two co-parents (who do not live together) use as a guide to help them work together to raise their child.
This parenting plan may be mandated by the family court, it could also be a more informal document.
When creating your own parenting plan, take time to reflect on how you want to approach all aspects of child upbringing.
Either way, this plan should feature basic things like who the child will live with and how often the other parent will visit the child.
The plan for holidays and vacations.
You may also include a clause to make some special adjustments to the visitation schedule to accommodate holidays and vacations.
For example, if Mother’s Day falls on a day when the child would normally be with the father, you may need to make a special exception for that day.
You may also want to plan for things like Christmas holidays, birthday parties, etc.
Also, decide if you will have separate parties or if you will have one party to which both sides of the family will attend.
4. Establish A Child Support Agreement
Child support is probably the most hotly contested aspect of co-parenting, especially in a country like Nigeria.
How it usually goes, the non-custodial parent pays a fixed amount of money to the other parent each month to help cover the child’s expenses; an amount that will depend on each parent’s income and the custody arrangement.
Strife to work out a child support arrangement that works for both you and your co-parent.
If you are not able to reach an agreement about child support, you can go to family court and have a judge mandate child support.
You may also find this article: Dating As Single Mum, What You Should Know
However, bear in mind that child support may need to change if other elements of the parenting plan change.
5. Compliment Your co-parent’s Parenting
When you notice that your ex-spouse is going out of their way to provide excellent care for your child/ren, let them know you see them, and you appreciate it.
It is a great way to build on positive aspects of your relationship and keep the focus on your children.
So, say things like “You did a great job at the PTA meeting last week,” or “I really appreciate you taking the kids shopping.”
6. Maintain Consistency, Leave Legal Issues With The Lawyers
For your new arrangement to have as little impact as possible on your child, you’ll want to maintain consistency in your parenting style and in their routine as much as you can.
Consideration should not be only the child’s schedule but your general attitude and demeanor as a parent.
When hesitant about how to handle a parenting situation, ask yourself what you would have done before the separation.
It’s only fair that your child/ren have consistent rules and discipline before and after the separation. This should also apply when they switch between households.
Watch it when you’re tempted to shower you child with extra affection or gifts.
The reason is that going overboard can signal a lifestyle change that makes your child uncomfortable or simply result in them feeling entitled to special treatment.
As much as possible, minimise damage to your child during the separation by allowing them to have strong relationships with both parents.
Also reduce their exposure to conflict when possible, and provide them with consistent parenting.
And ensure you leave the legal issues with lawyers.
If there are areas of serious disagreement or issues that a judge has ruled as requiring adjudication like alimony payments or visitation, leave these out of your personal conversations as forcing a discussion about it will only breed unnecessary bad blood.
Making co-parenting work for you is a great thing that will help you stay committed to taking care of your children adequately.
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