Many co-parents attend parent-teacher conferences together and realize varying degrees of success. For example, one set of co-parents might squabble the whole time, while in another meeting, one parent could continually talk over the other parent and dismiss their ideas. In ideal cases, the meeting would proceed with respectful and open communication.
To be sure, co-parenting is a delicate balance in even the best of situations, and parent-teacher conferences can quickly expose weaknesses in a co-parenting relationship. So, here are some tips to help these meetings go as successfully as possible.
Consider it as you would a business meeting
Your relationship with your child’s co-parent used to be anything but businesslike, but thinking of the meeting as a business arrangement helps it go smoothly. For example, you probably would not laugh mockingly or make biting comments to a colleague during a meeting. If an area of disagreement occurs, consider whether it is best discussed privately with your co-parent after the meeting rather than in front of the teacher.
Focus on the child
You may be dealing with a lot of thoughts. For example, you could be wondering what bad things the teacher might have heard about your divorce, and you might be resentful of the fact that your ex brought a new romantic partner. All of your feelings are valid. Do keep in mind that the focus of this conference needs to be your child. The meeting is not about who seems to parent the best or about the mistakes both parents make. To that end, it helps the meeting stay focused if you and your co-parent prepare a list of questions beforehand to ask. You can do this alone too.
Loop in the other parent as much as possible
If geographical distance is an issue and your co-parent wants to be involved, try to make that happen. For example, your co-parent could participate via a telephone call or video call.