A single mom of 3 shares how she co-parents. Communication and planning are key, especially when you don't see eye-to-eye.

  • Single mom Angela Marie Christian is co-parenting three children, age 18, 9, and 4.

  • She said she and her ex-partners sometimes didn't see eye to eye about their child-rearing methods.

  • But they learned to pull together. She now advises co-parents on ways to navigate their situation.

Angela Marie Christian was in a quandary when the father of her eldest daughter wanted to take the then 12-year-old to the Dominican Republic with his family.

The couple split up when the girl was a baby, and Christian had sole custody.

"The thought of her being in another country without me was frightening," she told Business Insider. "So I put my foot down and said 'no.'"

The decision caused a lot of upset because the child wanted to go to the Caribbean just as much as her dad and his relatives wanted her there.

Christian said it made her feel like the villain, spoiling everyone's fun.

Six years on, with the benefit of hindsight, the mom said she could have handled the situation differently.

"At the time my mindset was very much, 'If I'm in control, my child will be safe,'" she said. She said she wouldn't have stopped worrying if she'd gone on the trip.

"I now realize that I was being overprotective," Christian added. "It would have been better to have had a bigger perspective that didn't limit her ability to explore another country and culture."

Christian said co-parenting can be tough

She reached the conclusion last year when her middle daughter, who has a different dad, was offered the chance to go away with him.

"I thought that, instead of being about me and how I felt, it was about really considering the child," the mom said. She happily gave permission for her secondborn, then 8, to visit Costa Rica.

Christian believes her change in attitude was brought about by the increased time she'd spent as a co-parent. She said she'd embraced the idea of compromise and picking your battles.

"Everything doesn't have to turn into a fight," she added. She said she was trying to apply the same wisdom while raising her son, who is 4. In his case, she is co-parenting with her estranged husband. The couple are in the middle of a divorce.

Christian admitted that her co-parenting philosophy was somewhat devised through trial and error. But, as a life coach who advises other single moms, she hoped others might benefit from her experience and shared three tips.

Communication is very important

The 43-year-old said that communication is key. "Nobody wants to be caught off guard," she said.

She said exes should set aside time to discuss their child's well-being and never keep anything the child has told them from the other.

"That way, you're not blindsided if or when they finally raise it with you," she said, noting that a child confiding in one parent and not the other can undermine trust.

Plan everything

Christian and her ex-partners plan things in advance so their kids know which home they're going to and when — particularly over the holidays.

For example, she said that her middle daughter usually spends Thanksgiving at her dad's house and Christmas at her mom's every year. The opposite will happen the following year.

Christian said that depending on how custody is split, it's important for kids to spend at least some of their school vacations with each parent.

"We all keep in touch via FaceTime so nobody misses out," the coach added.

Be respectful

The mom said that co-parents who bicker in front of their children should stop. "It's hurtful and confusing to them," she said.

Instead, when feelings are running high, it's best to act neutral and discuss it later when the adults are alone.

"I'm a big advocate of texting over phone calls," Christian said. "That moment between you writing something you regret and pressing send is invaluable."

She said it was never appropriate to badmouth the other parent — or their new partner — when the kids are around. "It's divisive," she added.

It's vital, she said, to put on a united front so your child feels loved and supported.

Read the original article on Business Insider