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Three traps of co-parenting you can work to avoid

Florida courts typically favor both parents remaining actively involved in their child’s life unless there are circumstances that warrant a different course. This makes shuffling between two homes inevitable for most divorced parents.

Raising children in one home is challenging enough; if parents end their relationship and live separately, it presents difficulties that are nearly impossible to avoid. Knowing about these issues ahead of time provides parents an opportunity to discuss strategies for how to handle them and how to minimize the frustration they create.

Schedule discrepancies – Two households means two sets of schedules. While it’s not optimal for young children to go to bed at 8 p.m. with one parent and 10 p.m. with another, that may be less harmful for them than watching their parents fight about bedtimes, says Samantha Rodman, a clinical psychologist.

Relinquishing control – It’s difficult to give up control over a child’s life, particularly if you were the one made most of the day-to-day parenting decisions during the marriage. It’s great to discuss and set consistent rules for both houses, but there are bound to be differences. Therapist Chelli Pumphrey advises parents to focus on what they can control and let go of the rest. Removing the emotion from discussions about differences with your child’s other parent will go a long way toward maintaining a workable co-parenting approach.

Talking badly about the other parent – Even the most amicable co-parenting relationships have moments when one parent is tempted to speak negatively about the other in front of a child. Don’t, says Rosalind Sedacca, founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network, a resource for parents coping with divorce. “When you put down their other parent, your children are likely to interpret it as a put-down of part of them. When both parents are guilty of this behavior, it can create a sense of unworthiness and low self-esteem,” Sedacca told the Huffington Post. Speak directly with your child’s other parent about problems rather than expressing frustration to a child with hopes it will get back to the other parent. Even if your ex uses this strategy, take the high road and do not reciprocate.

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