Most parents teach their kids at a young age that simple courtesies, like saying “please” and “thank you,” are important. However, couples often forget to use these words when talking to each other. If a marriage is deteriorating, such niceties may become nonexistent.
However, as you and your former spouse work to co-parent your children, it’s time to bring them back. They can go a long way toward showing respect for your co-parent and make a request seem less like a demand.
Other simple words and phrases can go a long way to helping co-parents remember that their mission now is to find a way to work together across two households to raise healthy, happy children. The more you use them in your conversations (with your children and co-parent and with others), the more they’ll reflect the way you actually see things.
No matter how you and your co-parent feel about each other, the two of you and your children will always be a family. Remembering that can help you as you deal with the conflicts that will inevitably arise.
Referring to your former spouse as your “ex” puts the focus on your previous relationship. It often has a negative connotation and brings up bad memories. By referring to that person as your co-parent (which they are), you’re focusing on the relationship that you currently and will forever have.
This is a good phrase to remember in virtually every aspect of life. However, it’s an important one as you and your co-parent adjust to your new family dynamic. Occasionally, someone will forget that it was their turn to pick up the kids after school or that a book report was due the day after a weekend visit. When occasional slip-ups happen, it’s often best to let them go rather than spend time and energy berating your co-parent or complaining to your friends about them.
If your co-parent is neglecting their obligations, always running late or not reimbursing you for their portion of expenses you were supposed to share, there are co-parenting apps that can help the organizationally challenged. If that doesn’t help, or if they seem to be intentionally doing things that ignore your parenting plan and disrupt the kids’ lives (and yours), it may be wise to talk with your attorney to find out what options you have.