School supplies abound and the first signs of fall are showing, and that can only mean one thing: back-to-school season. As you navigate your child's return to the daily grind, meeting new teachers and deciding between the debate team or drama club, use these three tips to keep the peace between you and your ex-spouse. 1. Keep it Civil Okay, so this applies all the time, but it's a good idea to stop and remind yourself that getting angry or making snide comments doesn't get you anywhere. Try to interact with your ex the same way you would act toward a coworker you didn't particularly care for when your boss was watching. You likely wouldn't go out of your way to be friendly, but you'd keep your tone of voice in check, a smile on your face and your nonverbal cues professional. This also applies to your ex's new girlfriend or husband. You're not romantically involved with your children's other parent anymore, but you are still a family, and that means treating everyone involved with civility and respect. 2. Be Flexible It's easy — and perfectly okay — to get a little lax with the visitation schedule during the summer. It doesn't matter so much if the kids stay up an hour later or didn't get a bath that day, but all this changes when school is back in session. While putting a priority on homework and adequate sleep is important, so is learning to pick your battles. If your ex is late one time, try to let it slide. If it becomes a habit and starts effecting the children's grades or mood, then it's time to have a more serious discussion. 3. Get It In Writing If the back-to-school changes have you and your ex so much at odds that you end up in front of the family courts, you're going to wish you had as much documentation as possible. Do yourself a favor and start now. Use email or texts to coordinate changes in schedule with your ex, so there's no way there can be any misunderstandings. Apps and programs designed to help divorced parents coordinate schedules and communicate civilly can help as well. Above all, take a deep breath and remind yourself that this too shall pass. In a few weeks, you and your kids will have the new routine down pat. Even if things between you and your ex stay strained, you've managed to keep your temper in check and act in the best interests of your children.
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