For most people, surviving divorce is difficult enough. But when children are involved, navigating the new terrain of co-parenting with an aggressive or contentious ex can be an ongoing struggle.

According to research, successful co-parenting offers a lot of benefits to children after a divorce. When parents can set aside their differences and amicably co-parent, their children are far less likely to develop behavioral problems. Unfortunately, what’s best for your kid’s well-being after your divorce doesn’t always align with what’s best for you. If you have a difficult ex, here are a few ways to improve your co-parenting relationship:

Put your kids first

No matter what happened in your marriage, your top priority should be doing what’s best for your children after your divorce. Rehashing old arguments will only make things more difficult for your family.

Let go of old resentments

Even if you can’t stand to be in the same room as your ex, you should save your grievances for your friends, relatives or mental health professionals. Venting about your ex to your kids can put them in the painful position of feeling like they must choose sides.  

Practice good communication 

Successful co-parenting relies on good communication between both parents. Keeping your message clear, concise and respectful can help prevent emotions from running high. Remember that actively listening to the other parent is also crucial to a positive co-parenting relationship.

Work together

It may not always come easy, but remembering that you and your ex are on the same team and making and effort to work together will go a long way for you and your kids. Be supportive of the other parent and offer positive reinforcement when they do something that you like.

While co-parenting with your ex may be easier said than done, following these tips can help you keep the peace. Both you and your ex ultimately want the same thing – what’s best for your kids.