You and your spouse have decided it’s in everyone’s best interest if you part ways. While your marriage may be coming to an end, the children mean that you’ll need to have a working partnership for years to come.

Conflict between parents can cause children to have behavioral problems, anxiety and even depression. But supportive co-parenting has been shown to lead to better overall mental health, self-esteem and academic performance. Co-parenting could be the best solution for your child if you keep their needs in mind.

The right discourse

Make sure you keep lines of communication open with your partner. It can make planning easier, from little things next week to big things next year. This will also avoid the messy by-product of using your kids as the go-between, which can lead to feeling like they’re stuck in the middle.

Outlining intent

Co-parenting doesn’t just happen. You’ll have to remember some guidelines to help keep things consistently in the children’s best interest:

  • Be child-centered: Think about this deal from their perspective. Think about what works best for them, and proceed from there.
  • Make decisions together: Try not to spring immediate plans and ideas out of the blue. This can make things frustrating and hard to deal with. Have schedules and rules in place and stick to them.
  • Keep rules consistent: Make sure they’re following the same rules with you as they are with their other parent. Shifts in what is normal might not be healthy and could lead to behavioral problems.

Growing arrangements

Trial and error are acceptable. This is a hard situation that you’ve got to make work for your children. As impressive as it would be if you nailed it from the beginning, it will likely take time to find a system that works. Stay patient with yourself, your partner and the process.

Raising children isn’t easy, and it’s even less so when you divide the household. Keep lines of communication open, and you stay mindful of how this will affect the kids. You’ll be well on your way to raising happy and healthy members of society.