Can’t stand the sight of your ex-wife or husband but you love your kids to bits and wouldn’t want that to get in the way of your co-parenting? You’ve come to the right place for answers.

Children are often caught in the crossfires of matters that should be left between parents. To ensure that that is not the case for you, take a look at our co-parenting rule book.

Speak in one voice
If one parent prohibits the eating of ice cream before bedtime and the other allows it, there is an unhealthy environment created where children think they can have it their way by turning to the more permissive parent. They may also come to the conclusion that they can question one parent’s authority over the other.

You need to present a united front with uniformity of rules across homes. The same goes for the magnitude of any rewards recognizing accomplishments. Try to stay in sync with the other parent in all areas where it's easy for you to compromise.

Don’t tolerate denigratory talk from your children
The key to successful co-parenting is not letting your emotions get the better of you. Your ex may have cheated on you with an old flame or hid away a serious past, but you have to set those feelings aside for the good of the children.

You shouldn’t give the time of day disrespectful talks about your ex from your kids. It may be music to your ears but ensure they know, in no uncertain terms, that’ll you have none of that in your house.

In fact, talk only positive things about your previous partner when around them. That's just good co-parenting etiquette. Kids shouldn’t be hearing bad things about their dad/mom from you or else they’ll start harboring ill-feelings toward him/her or even you.

Don’t use kids as messengers
Communicate directly. It’s important that you don’t exchange messages through your kids as you’re giving them a front-row seat to the conflict.

If it doesn't cause trouble, get in touch with your ex and update each other on any significant life changes. If your children are constantly the primary source of information, it’ll create disconnect and potential confusion in your co-parenting efforts.

Stick to the schedule
Not everyone is punctual, but co-parents have to be. You, the other parent, the children involved, and anyone living in either household depends on the parenting schedule or timetable being followed.

Not following the schedule can be a constant source of irritation to the other parent. Children, particularly those of separated parents, also thrive on stability. Provide it by having a clear, consistent schedule that everybody follows.

Limit communication with spiteful relatives
Naturally, there are two sides to a divorce or separation: your side and that of your ex’s. Certain relatives will see you as the “big bad” of the story and will paint you out as such to your kids. You need to limit communication between your kids and such relatives.

And it goes both ways. If members of your family aren’t too shy about putting across critical opinions of your ex in front of young ears, cut them out too. Or, before it gets to that, sit these people down and make it known you won’t settle for any badmouthing in front of the kids.

If you go to mediation, that may be a chance to map out what roles relatives will play in the children's lives.

Create a formal tone between you and your ex
Talking with your ex may be a herculean task but it doesn’t have to be if you create a business-esque atmosphere with your children being the main agenda.

Make your children the center of any discussions or text exchanges. And that includes sensitive issues like child support and who pays for what.

Don’t make demands. Instead, make requests while seeking your ex's input. What’s more, if you think your co-parent is doing something wrong, don’t straight away point the finger of blame. Instead, talk it out and get to the root of the matter. If it comes to light that he/she is to blame, focus on offering a solution.

Benefits of effective co-parenting
Successful co-parenting has many benefits for your children. Hopefully, these tips can help you achieve them.

Kids not only feel more emotionally/mentally secure about themselves but they also get a healthy example to emulate with good co-parenting. Moreover, they are likely to develop with a better understanding of compromise and improved problem-solving skills.

Author's Bio: 

Dr Andrew Lancaster is the founder and director of unicurve.com.

Andrew is an economist who develops study and career guides for university and college students. He has also written extensively on how to improve child support and family law systems.