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How to improve co-parenting this school year

Parenting with your ex is not easy. More than likely both parents have strong ideas on what is important when it comes to raising kids. Compromise is necessary in order to keep as much peace as possible.

How can you improve your co-parenting while maintaining your relationship with your kids? Below is a list of tips to consider to help you parent with your ex.

Don't talk bad about your ex around your kids

When you've had a less than pleasant experience with your spouse, it is easy to talk about them in a negative way to your kids or around your kids. It is important to try not to do either when you are divorced and trying to co-parent.

Not only are the kids trying to figure out how to define their new relationship with each parent separately, divorce often leads them to second guess themselves. If they hear a lot of negative talk about one parent, they may see it as a putdown of "half of them." The other reason to keep your issues out of earshot of you ex is simply because it is not their responsibility.

Find a way to balance control

Balancing control of your child's life and activities can be a challenge, whether you're accustomed to taking control or letting your ex organize everything. Whenever you can, bring as much consistency to your child's routine as you can. If you can both agree that 8 p.m. is bedtime, and have the same rules about homework, screen time, and friends that's great - but chances are you won't agree on everything.

Sometimes there's a definite distinction between "Mom's rules" and "Dad's rules." Even though it can be frustrating, it is still important that you remain cordial to one another and respect one another's boundaries, even when you don't agree. Changing rules from one place to another is something nearly everyone needs to deal with, and in the end some differences can actually be a good thing.

Put your children first and be flexible

The older kids get, the more they start to have lives of their own that don't include either of their parents. If a friend who lives near Mom invites them over on Dad's night, they may try to change the schedule in order to follow their own rules. They might also face a scenario where they need to take important tests in the morning at a testing center that is near Dad's. Switching nights might mean better sleep and better scores.

It's important that both parents and the kids remember that the schedule was set for a reason. Flexibility is good, but not when either parent or the kids feel it is being used against them. If you find the schedule changes too much, it may be time to talk to your lawyer about redefining parenting time in a way that works better for everyone.

Consider these tips when co-parenting with your ex. Every family situation is different, but focusing on your putting your children first should be everyone's goal.

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