If you are in a coparenting situation, you’re likely wondering if you’re doing anything wrong or right when it comes to interacting with your child’s coparents. You’re right to think about it. How you interact with your coparent will affect how your children interact with them and you. Take a look at our suggestions for how to spot a healthy coparenting relationship.
Not burdening children with negative opinions on your coparent
Your real opinion of your coparent is not something your children needs to hear. There is an abundance of reasons why not. At best, you will just foster sympathy for your coparent and at worst, you’re going to foster negative feelings towards yourself. At the very worst, should a judge get involved, your constant bashing of the coparent can be used against you to get custody taken off you. Save it for your pals over a drink.
Discussion about changes
The most important part of relationship is talking. You need to talk to your boss to understand what they need, you need to talk to your partner to understand what they need, you definitely need to talk to your children to understand what they need, and you even need to talk to your coparent. If something is about to change (which it always does, we’re talking about a decades long commitment here), you need to discuss it. This might be something your child wants that might be big, like plans for the future, or small like a night at a new friend’s place. If it’s going to be a lasting change, you should have a discussion about it to make sure you are on the same page when it comes to support. If you need to, you can contact a London family lawyer to help settle big disputes.
Flexibility and compromise
However, you should both understand that compromise is needed. This is a lot harder for coparents to navigate. There are too many feelings informing things that might not have affected decisions if you were together. A good rule of thumb is to pick your battles. If you don’t care too much about it, let it go. If it’s something you do really care about, fight for it. Make sure not to fight for the sake of fighting. You’re not going to win that one whether between coparents, your children taking their side, or the courts weighing with an opinion.
Attending events without tension
The golden ticket for a healthy co-parenting relationship is one where you can be in the same room as other people and not notice everyone trying to get away from the conversation because they can just feel the temperature in the room drop. They’re not distracted from a distinct lack of enthusiasm in the conversation, the barely contained glares, etc. If you can go to parents’ night and not leave the teacher breathing a visible sigh of relief when you leave, you’ve done it. That is a high bar to set, to be actually comfortable around your ex to the point that it doesn’t disturb the people around you, and far too out of reach for even amicable co-parents.
Let’s face it, there are a lot of much bigger red flags for an unhealthy coparenting relationship, but the examples that come to mind range from embarrassing drama to “Is that technically illegal?” to fearing for your safety. People do shocking things when it comes to their children or even their relationship that they can’t absorb is now over.
Plus, the idea of a healthy coparenting relationship is a spectrum that goes all the way up to “a judge rules that this is not, in fact, healthy”. Frankly, if you can hit “civil to your face and in front of the kids but I could do with seeing you as little as possible”, you’re doing better than most.
By Olivia White