All relationships require rules. Sometimes the rules are obvious and sometimes they need to be established. This is especially true amongst coParents.
For the post-separation coParenting relationship to work well, parents need to establish some basic rules of conduct.
• Being courteous to each other (being on time, keeping each other informed, making requests in a respectful manner, and greeting each other cordially).
• Being honest with each other.
• Keeping agreements that are made.
• Refraining from name-calling, yelling, swearing, criticizing, blaming and so on.
• Staying on topic, i.e. limiting the discussion to child-related or parenting issues.
• Respecting each other’s privacy.
• Making very clear and very explicit agreements – nailing down details.
To establish your own set of rules, we recommend making a list of specific rules (in addition to the ones stated above) that you would like in your coParenting relationship. For example, you might have a tendency of being late, so make it a rule that you set your clock 10 minutes early so that you will be on time for pick-ups, drop-offs, and any other scheduled activity. Make rules that will encourage you to work cooperatively with one another. Like all relationships, this is a work in progress. If the other parent does something that discourages you from working cooperatively with them, consider introducing a new rule.
Protecting the coParenting relationship is protecting your children. People make relationships safe by having rules. After all, children cannot feel safe in their family if the parents do not feel safe with one another.