Parents who want to make joint custody work must do everything they can to put the best interests of the children first. Any divorced couple can attest that co-parenting after a divorce is hard—it requires a great deal of commitment and effort from both parents. While the real desire of a newly-divorced couple is to break all ties with the ex, there is the task of building a cooperative, respectful environment where the raising of the child must be shared. The road to joint custody is always bumpy, with a lot of possible roadblocks and unforeseen turns along the way.

In order to have a successful co-parental relationship in the long run, a newly-divorced couple must consider several issues and figure out strategies in order to successfully negotiate these issues. One issue is about guidance and discipline, often regarding bedtimes, homework and chores. It is common after a divorce for a parent to become stricter or more indulgent: one parent may let the child get away with everything, so the other parent would consequently try to enforce more discipline across both homes. When the parents have drastically different rules and expectations, it can be pretty hard for children. It is very important to make the children understand that the rules at mom’s house are different from that of dad’s.

Sometimes one can’t help but say something about an ex in front of a kid. Some of the reasons parents often put down each other include the fear of losing the child to his/her ex, anger left over the broken relationship, and a rebuttal of the put downs by the other parent. In some cases a kid who seeks more attention from each will put down one parent in the presence of the other. As hard as it may seem, parents should try not to give in to the urge of putting down an ex in front of the child because this could have a negative effect on the child’s relationship with both parents.

Although it can be quite hard to be polite and civil to one another, parents must know how to put aside their anger and resentment for each other especially during celebrations of important events with the kid. Both must make it a point to attend the child’s activities, and not interfere with the other parent’s visitation schedule, which should be the most important priority in a child’s schedule of activities. Divorce can leave a bitter taste in one’s mouth, and gift-giving can be very hard to do. To see the child open a gift with much excitement or talk about the fantastic gift that the other parent has given may be hard, but this should be viewed objectively.

Gift-giving is a loving exchange between a parent and child, so it is not a good idea to restrict a child from taking a gift or giving one to the other parent’s house. It is easy to forget about a child’s school issues amid the flurry and stresses of the divorce. Often, communication with the school can be difficult, if not entirely forgotten. This can be prevented by ensuring that the school is informed of the situation. By requesting two sets of notices mailed to both parents, communication with the school becomes a lot easier. Every year the rates of divorce are consistently increasing, and more and more kids have parents with joint custody arrangements.

It is not impossible for children to thrive in these families if there is good communication, cooperation and support from schools, courts and other agencies.

Author's Bio: 

The author of this article Ruth Purple is a successful Relationship Coach who has been helping and coaching individuals and couples for many years. Ruth recently published a new home study course on how to get your cheating spouse back. More info about this “Winning Your Man Back From Infidelity” program is available at