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Shared parenting: Tips to make the arrangement easier

Working with your ex to raise the children you share can be challenging. Even when there are good days, you might be wondering when things will turn sour again. The type of parenting relationship the two of you have has a big impact on how you will be able to handle trying times.

For those who are in a shared parenting arrangement, having a close relationship with your ex can work in your favor. Obviously, you and your ex both want what is best for the child and are willing to work to make that happen. Even then, you might still find yourself facing some challenges. Here are some tips to help you work through the challenges and prevent future issues:

Keep the focus on your children

Your children have to be the focus of your parenting arrangement. Even when it is tempting to try to "stick it" to your ex, you have to resist the temptation. Your children can learn a lot by the way that you handle these situations. You might find that by putting your children first and distancing yourself from your feelings about your ex that you are less stressed when dealing with shared parenting issues.

Choose your words carefully

Your words are powerful, so make sure you choose them carefully. Whether you are speaking to or about your ex, you need to make sure that you are speaking kindly. It is important that you don't speak ill of your ex at all. Even if you don't get along, he or she is still your child's other parent.

Find out what the children prefer (if appropriate)

It is sometimes best to ask your children what they want. You shouldn't try to corner the children and demand that they make decisions that a child shouldn't have to make, however. Trying to get them to choose one parent over the other isn't going to lead to any good result. Instead, ask about specific situations and give your children a chance to express themselves.

Remain open to compromise

Compromise is the cornerstone of a working parenting agreement. You and your ex need to be able to speak to each other and work through issues that come up without being so focused on your own solution that you aren't willing to consider other options.

Take a step back when necessary

There will be times when the situation is going to get fairly contentious. In these cases, take a step back to calm down and think about the situation. You might find that there is a middle ground that will help you to resolve the issue.

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