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Does co-parenting mean we should be friends?

We’ve all heard of ex-couples who say they’re best friends. However, after going through the turmoil of a divorce, you may wonder how you and your ex could ever reconcile.

And, if you can’t get along, does that mean you won’t be good co-parents? Here’s what you need to know about maintaining a relationship with your ex through co-parenting.

How you want to raise your child

Parents who have a positive relationship with each other aren’t necessarily good or bad parents to their children. When it comes down to parenting, the most important thing to remember is how you want to raise your child.

If you want to raise your child to be patient and empathetic, it’s a good idea to try to exemplify this with while communicating with your ex. However, it’s also important to teach your children to be true to their emotions. So, if it makes you uncomfortable to spend time with your ex, you shouldn’t necessarily pretend to want to be great friends.

Without oversharing, it’s okay to communicate these feelings to your child. For example, you might say, “I’m not ready to spend time with your other parent right now. But, I know that they’ll be very happy to spend time with you.” Try not to promise or insinuate that someday you will be comfortable with your ex if you’re not sure whether this will actually happen.

Your child’s emotions

If parents always appeased their child’s emotions, they’d eat pizza for breakfast and ice cream for dinner. However, it is important to be very in tune with how your child is feeling throughout this process.

Try to keep the conversation about the divorce open. In some cases, your child may be uncomfortable if you and your ex are very close. They may ask why you felt the need to separate if you can get along. By staying in touch with your child’s emotions, you and your ex can try to maintain a relationship that makes your child comfortable.

Keeping the peace

Ultimately, divorce keeps a child from watching their parents struggle through an unhappy marriage. So, at the end of the day, it’s important to try to keep your relationship with your ex from presenting these same struggles.

In some cases, trying to be friends may lead to arguments. In other cases, refusing to be friends may make the relationship more hostile. Try to treat your ex the same way that you would want your child to treat someone they have just met. That means staying polite and considerate, rather than necessarily staying dependent on one another.

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