Tips for parenting apart

While your relationship with your partner has ended, your role as a parent has not. As you move on with life after your divorce, you and your ex will need to manage your relationship as separated parents.

Give the other parent notice regarding issues

Instead of springing an issue or discussion on your former partner, it may be more helpful to let them know beforehand that you want to talk about something (perhaps through a text or email). If contact is made either by telephone or in person, before launching into a discussion, consider asking, ‘Is this a good time to talk?’ If not, ask to arrange a time that is mutually convenient.

Avoid using handovers as a time to discuss issues with the other parent

While it may seem convenient to discuss arrangements while exchanging the children, handovers are often emotionally charged times for both children and parents. If you have something you need to share or discuss, it may be best to make a phone call, text or email the other parent or ask to arrange a time when you can talk with them. If meeting face-to-face is necessary, consider holding discussions in a neutral setting. Meeting in a public place, or a local café or restaurant can sometimes be more productive than sitting at the kitchen table and reduce the likelihood that things will get heated or out of hand.

Do not have heated arguments or discussions in front of your children

Parent conflict is one of the most damaging aspects of divorce or separation for children, so do not involve your children in an argument between the two of you. Consider the best times to arrange phone conversations with the other parent and make sure the children will not be able to listen in.

Follow up all agreements or details of conversations in writing

If you and the other parent have made a change in plans or come to an agreement involving the children, follow it up in writing. It is not uncommon for parents to walk away with a different understandings about what was said or agreed. A written follow up will help minimise misunderstandings.

Whose war is it?

Sometimes we can be influenced by other people, their views or their agendas. Taking control and doing what you think is best will be tough but you need to do it. Enlist the help of others, such as neutral friends or other family members and stick to what you know is right.

Think about how you deal with conflict in another setting

If you don’t get on with someone at work for example, you still have to have a professional relationship. How do you deal with that? Are there lessons you can use in your relationship with your ex?