Every parent wants their children to be happy, healthy, safe, and successful. Unfortunately, divorce can bring a lot of stress on children, especially if they feel their family life is changing. As a parent, it is important to remember that your children are adjusting to a new situation, so while you strive to maintain an even keel, it is alright to let your guard down for an hour or two.
What is Divorced?
Divorce is the termination of a marital union. This usually entails the cancelation or reorganization of the marriage’s lawful duties and responsibilities, thus the dissolution of the matrimonial bonds between married couples under the state or country’s rule of law.
What Co-Parenting Is?
It means being a parent while providing equal attention to the children. If you and your spouse are divorced or separated, your children may live with one parent most of the time, and the other parent visits them regularly. You and your ex-spouse can co-parent, or attempt to co-parent, which is no easy task.
Tips for Divorced Parents – Co-Parenting
- Aim to be flexible. It is important to keep in mind that children are impacted by their parents’ divorce at any age, even when they are very young as they can sense a change in their parents’ behavior. For that reason, divorced parents should aim to be as flexible as possible when it comes to their children so there is minimal disruption.
- Try to accept different parenting styles. You may be surprised how many divorced parents find themselves trying to show their children that they are two different people. As with most things in life, the reality is somewhere in between. Yours and your partner’s style may be different, but you still have to compromise to make sure your children are not confused about what they should be doing in certain situations.
- Help your child feel connected to their other parent. It is easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day parenting of your kids, but make sure you do not lose sight of the fact that divorce does not just impact you. Your kids also feel your divorce, and they may act out or misbehave to express their feelings. To help your kids through the divorce, make sure you are always acting with good intentions, which means not speaking down about the other parent. Encourage them to see their mom or dad so they have both parents to reach out to.
- Keep your former partner up to date. As co-parents, it is essential to keep lines of communication open, as failure to do so can affect your child’s emotional well-being. It can also make the parent frustrated and want to lash out, both of you need to keep a cool head and keep each other well-informed about all changes.
- Plan ahead for tasks, activities, and events. When parents separate or divorce, co-parenting often becomes a priority. Balancing your children’s lives becomes a necessity, and working out who gets to make certain decisions can be difficult. Many parents find that planning can reduce conflict and make the co-parenting process easier. Any events and activities coming up need to be carefully planned out to match with the other parent if they need to be involved too, or if they need to adjust their plans.
- Give your former partner some time to learn the ropes. When children become involved in a divorce, the division of parental responsibilities and the division of child support can be overly complicated. If this is new to one of you, i.e., only one of you has been divorced before, then the other one will need time to figure out how they can work through this, so give them time to get through the next stages.
- Be prepared for some negative feelings. Divorce is hard enough on its own, but adding kids to the mix can make the process even more overwhelming. Going from one relationship and household to two is a hard transition, and kids add a whole new level of complication into the mix. But, if you educate yourself on the divorce process and co-parenting tips ahead of time, you can reduce some of the stress and difficulties that can occur. You will argue and fight, but it is important to not do it in front of the children as this can affect them greatly.
- Dealing With Special Celebrations When You are Co-Parenting. When going through a divorce, you and your spouse will have to divide up holidays, birthdays, and special occasions. Many kids’ birthday parties, holidays, and school events can come up, and it can be hard figuring out how to split them up without fighting or arguing. You need to set up plans about what you both can do and figure out pick up and drop off times that suit the child/children, especially if it is their birthday, they need to know that you both are there, and if you cannot be in the same room, you can at least be civil when crossing paths.