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How do you co-parent after a divorce?

Parenting can be rewarding, challenging and frustrating all at once. It gets even more complex after a couple divorces. Some people have to ask themselves, "How am I going to do this?" Particularly if there are hard feelings after a divorce, co-parenting can be tough, but what really matters is that the kids are not negatively affected by it.

Even for ex-couples who are civil to each other at best after child custody issues are settled, there are certain ways that they can be successful at co-parenting. Here are a few ideas.

• Regularly check in with the other parent. This may be easier said than done, especially for newly divorced couples who might need some space from each other. But whether it's meeting in person, having a phone conversation or emailing, it's important to lay some ground rules, check in about how the kids are doing and plan for vacation and events.

• Go easy on the in-laws. Remember, a child's grandparents may feel grief after a divorce too, and it's important for them and the children to maintain a healthy relationship. Cutting them out of your life could backfire.

• Respect the other parent's boundaries and rules. You might not agree with everything your ex does in terms of their parenting style. But unless it's destructive and dangerous, it's often best to keep calm and let them parent they way they parent. Criticizing them may not only put more strain on your relationship, but it takes energy that you could be devoting to something else.

These are just a few ideas. It may be worth sitting down to try to think of other ways to be successful at co-parenting.

Source: Huffington Post, "Make smart choices for post-divorce co-parenting success," Rosalind Sedacca, July 23, 2012

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