Co-Parenting after divorce will be one of the hardest challenges you will face, especially if you and your former spouse want to minimize the negative effects of the divorce on your children. Although co-parenting after divorce might seem daunting, a cohesive parenting plan can help both of you work together to raise your children successfully.
You and your ex-spouse can provide a positive environment for your children if you remember these steps:
1. Focus On Your Children
As you and your ex-spouse create a co-parenting plan, remember to place your focus entirely on the welfare of your children. This is not the time to deal with unresolved issues stemming from your divorce. Your children need stability to thrive, and your ability to focus on your children’s needs is paramount. If your ex-spouse has trouble staying on track, gently push the conversation back onto the correct topic.
2. Work on Communication
Communication between you and your former spouse is the best way to ensure a happy future and minimize the effects of the divorce on your children. If you have trouble communicating with your ex-spouse, take a professional approach to the problem. Treat each discussion as if you were talking to a colleague at work. The focus of each discussion should always center around your children. In addition to scheduling activities, discuss other important issues related to your children, such as grades and problems with friends.
3. Keep Your Emotions At Bay
Venting to your children about their other parent is an inappropriate way to deal with your feelings. Children aren’t old enough to understand what you’re going through and can’t offer you any useful advice. Your venting sessions may also have negative consequences on the relationships between your children and their other parent. If you need someone to talk to, consider speaking to a friend, therapist or loved one.
4. Maintain Consistency Between Two Homes
This is especially true if you and your ex-spouse share joint custody of young children. the younger the child, the more they may struggle to adjust to the differences between your two homes. However, if you can maintain similar routines at each home, your children will feel more secure and stable. For example, maintaining a similar meal schedule can encourage stability. If your children are older, allow their input to shape the decisions you and your former spouse make about routines.
5. Make Major Decisions as a Team
Major decisions, ranging from medical issues to dealing with a bully at school, should be made together as a team with your child’s best interests at heart. Maintaining a respectful discourse can help you and your ex-spouse reach a decision. If you need extra help dealing with these issues, don’t be afraid to bring another individual into the discussion.
Co-parenting after divorce will present many challenges. Treating your former spouse with respect and focusing on your children as a team can help you overcome some of the biggest challenges of parenting.