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Tips for Conducting Successful Coparenting Meetings

Break Down the Barriers and Communicate Effectively

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Successful coparenting requires good communication, and research shows that children whose parents make an effort to communicate effectively with one another fare better in the months and years following a divorce. One small thing that you can do to improve positive communication between you and your ex is to meet regularly to talk about raising your children. Here are some tips to help structure each meeting:

1. Set a Business-Like Tone During Your Coparenting Meeetings

Moving forward, try to look at your relationship with your ex as a business partnership. In many ways, it is. You share the common goal of raising your children. You may not like each other, and communicating together will certainly be challenging, but the success of your "business" - your children's healthy adjustment - depends on it.

2. Meet Weekly

Be committed to meeting on a consistent basis, such as weekly. This will convey the message to your children that - when it comes to raising them - you are indeed a united front. Yes, this will be extremely difficult in the early stages of your divorce or separation. However, keep your focus centered on your common goals - the children - and the meetings will get easier with time.

3. Communicate Through the Phone and E-mail

You do not have to meet in person! In many cases, talking on the phone or using email is preferable. That's okay as long as you are committed to communicating with one another using whatever medium is most productive for the two of you.

4. Use an Agenda During Your Coparenting Meeting

There are certain topics - such as schedules, school progress, and behavioral concerns - that you're going to want to cover each week in your meetings. You can simplify your discussions by using a printed agenda. Create a standard form to include all the topics you wish to discuss regularly, and complete it prior to your meeting. When both parents make this effort prior to each meeting, the sessions will become much more productive. This will also help each of you focus your energy on what really matters.

5. Stay Focused on the Kids During Your Coparenting Meeting

The purpose of your coparenting meetings is to work together in raising your children, which is not going to happen unless you make the effort to communicate effectively with one another. Therefore, each of you must make a conscious decision to stay focused on the kids during these meetings. It's not the time for personal discussions or rehashing conflicts in your relationship. If you need to schedule time for those kinds of discussions, do it separate from your regular coparenting meeting. Also, try to set a time limit for your meetings, such as 30 minutes.

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