If you’re going through a divorce and you have children, one of the most important things to decide is how to co-parent your kids in a healthy way.
Co-parenting occurs when a divorced couple shares in the duties of raising their child(ren). Unfortunately, it’s sometimes easier said than done in contentious divorces.
During the divorce process, you may go through mediation to come to some conclusions about how your children should be raised (and who should raise them). It’s important to think about what’s best for your children. And that can be hard if you’re not getting along with your ex-spouse.
So, how can you raise balanced children while co-parenting after a divorce?
Set Your Own Anger Aside
Married couples split up for a variety of different reasons. Some situations are more serious, like domestic violence or substance abuse. But, if you just grew apart from your spouse or couldn’t stop fighting, that isn’t a reason for not allowing them to have a healthy relationship with their child.
You may not have many good things to say about your ex-spouse. But, in most cases, it’s healthiest for children to have strong relationships with both parents.
To begin, you have to set your anger, sadness, and feelings of betrayal aside when it comes to custody and visitation rights. Don’t put your kids in the middle of your emotions or your battles with your ex-partner. If you have anger issues, take it out elsewhere when your children aren’t around.
By setting your anger aside, you’ll be able to remain a stable and secure environment for your children.
Talk to Your Former Spouse
It’s not always easy, but one of the best ways to make sure you're on the same page when co-parenting is to communicate well with your child’s other parent.
Instead of thinking about how it might make you feel, think about your child. Make your child the center of each conversation that you have with your former spouse. That way, there's never any need to bring up old wounds from your marriage.
Of course, this type of communication can take time and a lot of work. That’s especially true if your divorce was particularly stressful. If you and your ex can commit to speaking to each other without conflict when it comes to your kids, it will make co-parenting much easier.
Remember You’re a Team
Co-parenting works best if you’re on the same page with your former spouse. It can be confusing for your kids to have different expectations, rules, etc., coming from each parent. Children will feel more stable if they have similar sets of rules from both parents.
So try working out a plan with your ex when it comes to rules and disciplinary action. You may not agree on everything, but it’s likely you can meet somewhere in the middle. Again, thinking about what’s best for your child should take precedence over your own personal feelings.
Be Respectful, Even When It's Hard
You and your ex-spouse are both starting a new life and a new journey with your children. Being respectful toward each other, no matter how difficult it might be, can show your kids that their world isn’t going to completely change.
When you can make decisions together as parents, the effects of your divorce will have less of a negative impact on your children. While their lives will change, keeping things as stable and as secure as possible will definitely make the transition easier for them.
If you’re going through a divorce or you’re new to co-parenting, please feel free to contact us. We know it’s not always easy to work with your ex-spouse right away. But we'd be delighted to help you through the process so you can continue to raise healthy, balanced children.