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The goal: Making co-parenting be mutually respectful

Having to work with your ex on parenting matters can be a challenge, especially if the divorce was contentious. Finding ways to work through the issues and encourage a healthy co-parenting relationship might make the situation a bit easier.

As you work through the challenges that come with co-parenting, make sure that you are keeping some important points in mind.

Adult matters should be kept between parents

There are certain matters that shouldn't be discussed with children. These are best handled between you and your ex so that the children remain unaware of them. By keeping these matters private, you are lessening the chance that the children will feel like they are responsible for any negative repercussions. It can also help to cut down on the chance of other people trying to give their opinion on the matters that are being discussed.

Don't keep beating a dead horse

There are bound to be disagreements in the co-parenting relationship. You can't hold on to those. Instead, work through them and move on. Once an issue is decided, try not to bring up the matter again, and try not to hold the arguments you had with your ex about child custody against him or her once a solution is reached. You also shouldn't let a problem fester without a solution, because the situation might deteriorate further over time.

Mistakes will happen sometimes

Both parents are likely going to make mistakes at some point. This is only human nature. How you react to mistakes can have a lasting impact on the co-parenting relationship -- and your kids.

Healthy co-parenting involves respect and forgiveness. The key to making things work in this type of arrangement is remembering that your child's safety and well-being are the top priorities. There really isn't anything to gain from pointing out your ex's mistakes when he or she likely feels bad enough about them already. No matter what the mistake was, you can likely use it as a learning experience for your children.

Both parents must try to respect each other

Without mutual respect, this situation is likely to go downhill. You and your ex are each free to live your own lives as you see fit, so try to avoid judging each other. Being respectful shows your children that even when they don't get along all the time, adults can remain respectful. Try to set expectations for other adults who are involved in the child's life. Make it known that disrespect isn't allowed in any form and that there will be consequences if there are disrespectful comments or actions.

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