DON’T FORGET: In business, for instance, how you are treated in the first negotiation determines the trust level for future negotiations. Co-parents often forget that they are navigating the business of raising children and they make frequent mistakes that often lead to gross mistrust — a cardinal sin in business. Unfortunately, they are forced (because of parental rights) to have to deal with a business partner that they would likely not otherwise choose to negotiate with. Even so, it makes good business sense to be respectful, professional, and civil in order to set a good precedent for future negotiated agreements that will inevitably follow. Anyone who thinks they can gain trust by bullying or demeaning is not a very good business person. That has never worked in my business, even when I don’t like the person I am negotiating with! Personal feelings MUST be put aside if you ever want the partnership to benefit you at any point. My #1 rule in business is be honest, kind and respectful. It’s all I can control and helps me sleep at night. It’s also a good rule for the co-parenting relationship, even if your co-parent fails miserably at it. You will not only maintain your self-respect that way, but your kids will notice — and that’s what really matters.