As if parenting didn't have enough challenges in the first place, now do it with someone you can't get along with!
Co-parenting the right way!
Parenting is so hard to begin with. You find yourself in situations where you don't agree on discipline or how a certain situation was handled, or which religion to raise the child. But now you might end up parenting with someone that you had an awful relationship with and got divorced, or someone who you don't even know! This puts you in the world of co-parenting! I am not saying that you will be having Christmas dinner together, but being able to go to sports events and school functions and being able to be civil to each other will go far! Many people think that once they get divorced they only have to deal with the other parent til the child turns 18. Last I checked they were your kid for life! So college graduations, weddings and child births are still possibly in the future. And parents may still have to interact.
So how do you co-parent? Well you first have to decide that your previous relationship doesn't matter. All the hurts and nasty things that were said have to be a thing of the past. You have to accept the fact that the divorce has hurt your child in a vast amount of ways and anymore damage needs to be minimalized. So talking negatively about your ex, is only going to hurt the child even more. It sucks doing the right thing sometimes! But ultimately you will be rewarded.
Hopefully you have a firm parenting time agreement. Then you can minimalize any unnecessary conversations. Talking about the other parent to the child needs to be a positive thing. The child is half of that other person, and if you tell the child that they other person is a piece of crap, you are telling your child that half of them is crap too! I have heard so many people say "I just can't be nice to them". And I believe that they are dead wrong. I struggle being nice sometimes too. And in those times, I call upon God. Because I know I can do anything with him. Sometimes it isn't about being nice, but just about holding my tongue. There are many opportunities in co-parenting to be the bigger person, it isn't always the pretty road and sometimes it is often very rough and ugly. But one day when in heaven the Lord will say "well done, good and faithful servant.''
Many of us strive to be good Christians, but in these times of arguments, we forget that we need to step up and show our child how to be an adult and to be a good Christian and sometimes it isn't about being right, it is about being quiet and understanding that God will work in that other parents life in his time, not yours! Keep the arguing away from the child! You may have to walk away from some conversations and say that this isn't the time to talk about this. And talk another time.
That is my goal. To raise my kid with the least amount of bitterness between me and her father. Our problems shouldn't be her problems. Adult problems should never be the child's problems. They shouldn't have to be concerned with who is paying who how much child support. Or who gets more amount of time. That is between you and the other parent and the courts. Leave the child out of it and let them be a kid. The worst thing they should have to worry about it hoping for a blizzard so they can have a snow day to build a snow man.
As the kids get older and get into their teens, the dynamics may change. You may have to have some conversations about the other parent. However, these need to be discovery conversations, not bashing sessions. Discovery conversations are conversations about why the child doesn't want to go to the other parents house any more or why they don't call or text them as much. Is it the changing teen hormones or is it that something happened and they don't want to be there. So many things happen in those teen years and you need to stay on top of all of those feelings.
Co-parenting is never an easy task. But remember that it doesn't have to involve inviting them over for dinner's, but it does require you to be the bigger person and not let your problems with the other parent be the child's problems.