While divorces are hard on everyone involved, they can be especially difficult on the kids. One way to help make the divorce easier for your children to get through is by having a strong co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse.

No matter how strong a co-parenting agreement may be, there are things that can create tension between the two parents. Below are four of the more common things that can cause strain in a co-parenting relationship.

Putting your ex-spouse down

Talking negatively about an ex-spouse in front of a child may feel good in the short term. However, doing so can hurt a child’s self-esteem. Children may feel like they’re part of the reason to blame for the negativity directed toward an ex. If there are any issues, be upfront and talk about them directly with your ex. Being proactive about discussing your concerns helps prevent them from becoming larger issues in the future.

Scheduling conflicts

A good co-parenting agreement will usually have detailed schedules. Sometimes, those well-planned schedules may not work out for one parent, resulting in a change of plans the other parent may not be ready for. Try to be flexible and understand that sometimes life may force your ex to deviate from the original schedule.

No cooperation

For co-parents to work together effectively, there needs to be a strong sense of cooperation among both parties. Working together to find the middle ground during disagreements can help resolve conflict more quickly. When making a major decision on behalf of your child, consult your ex to help ensure they feel involved.

Negatively judging an ex-spouse’s parenting style

It can be easy to assume bad motivations if an ex-parents in a way that’s different from you. Remember that you and your ex are likely to have different parenting styles. Just because their style may be different doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Unless your child is in danger by your ex’s parenting choices, try to respect the decisions they make.

The key to all of these stressors ultimately boils down to a lack of communication. Having a regular dialogue with your ex will help ensure your co-parenting arrangement will be operating in a manner that’s best for your child.