Joint custody arrangements, especially after an acrimonious split, can be exhausting and infuriating. It can be exceedingly difficult to get past the history of hurts and built-up resentment you may have with your ex. Making shared decisions, seeing one another at drop-offs, or just speaking to someone you’d rather just forget about can seem like impossible tasks. But while it’s true that co-parenting isn’t an uncomplicated or perfect solution, it’s the best way to get your children’s needs met and ensure their closeness to both of you.
It may be tough going, especially at first, but you can learn to effectively co-parent and still keep your sanity and self-respect. It can be helpful to begin thinking of your relationship with your ex as a completely new one—one that is entirely about the well being of your children, and not about either of you. Your marriage may be over, but your family is not; doing what is best for your kids is your most important priority. The first step to being a mature, responsible co-parent is to always put your children's needs ahead of your own.
Through your parenting partnership, your kids should recognize that they are more important than the conflict that ended the marriage—and understand that your love for them will prevail despite changing circumstances. Kids whose divorced parents have a cooperative relationship: