Co-parenting with your ex after divorce is never easy – no matter how amicable your break-up was. You split up for a reason – maybe a lot of reasons. Likely, you don’t see eye-to-eye on a number of things. Parenting is certainly an area where everyone has their own ideas about what’s best.
Most everyone feels some insecurity about how good they are at parenting. As you transition to being a part-time single parent after separation or divorce, it’s likely that your insecurities will increase. Having a co-parent judging and criticizing you can make you start to question even the smallest decision.
It’s often necessary to create some boundaries as co-parents. The extreme scenario is parallel parenting, where you each parent your child as you choose with little or no communication except on large issues like education and medical care. That’s typically not the best choice for anyone – least of all the child.
However, by not taking your co-parent’s criticism and judgment (real or perceived) to heart and committing to being less judgmental of them, you can establish some boundaries that allow you do what’s best for your child.
It’s normal to have different parenting styles
No two parents (married or not) have the same parenting style. Sometimes people don’t fully develop a parenting style until they start caring for their child on their own.
A good place to stop the judgment (and being affected by your co-parent’s judgment) is by recognizing that one of you is probably more lenient than the other – or lenient about different things. Your co-parent may be vigilant about what your child eats but not about bedtime.
A good parenting plan can help set boundaries
It’s typically best when parents can set general expectations that are necessary for their child’s health and well-being without expecting the other to have precisely the same rules they do. Kids learn to follow different rules in each house – as long as each parent is consistent with their own rules.
A well-crafted parenting plan that allows each parent to care for their child as they believe is appropriate with some agreed-upon expectations around things like behavior and grades can minimize squabbles over individual decisions. Your plan can also outline which matters rise to the level of requiring consultation and agreement. With experienced legal guidance, you can develop a plan that works for your family.