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Address mental health aspects of co-parenting

Co-parenting isn't always an easy solution for the adults involved in the situation, but it is usually a good parenting model for the children. If you are co-parenting, you need to make sure that you are protecting your mental health. The last thing that you need is to figure out that you are suffering from depression or anxiety because of the situation.

One thing that is very important is for you to set clear boundaries. These should extend to both homes and cover areas like discipline and expectations for education. Knowing what to expect in these areas from the start can help you feel more in control.

Another necessary step is for you and your ex to commit to remaining positive. Co-parenting will be challenging at times, but you can't let the challenges turn negative. From the start, both adults need to make it clear that negativity isn't going to be tolerated. This expectation should be relayed to the children.

There might be times when you and your ex start to get heated. Children are likely going to test the co-parenting arrangement to determine what they can get away with. Having open and honest communication with your ex is necessary. If you find that things are getting too intense, take a time out. This gives you and your ex time to cool off and think about how the issues might be resolved in a mutually agreeable manner.

Remember that how you handle this situation now can have an impact on your children. They are watching you closely, so if you show your ex respect even when you don't get along, you are teaching your children a valuable lesson.

Source: Psychology Today, "The Do's and Don'ts of Co-Parenting Well," Deborah Serani Psy.D., accessed Dec. 28, 2017

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