Going through a divorce is one thing, but if you have children, the situation can become more difficult. Unless the reason for your divorce involves domestic violence or substance abuse, then you might have to consider co-parenting with your ex-spouse. It can get quite emotional, having to see them over and over again when you want nothing to do with them, but co-parenting is the best way to ensure that your children have all of their needs met and still maintain close relationships with both parents. So what is the best strategy to make co-parenting work?
1. Put Aside Hurt And Anger
In the process of getting a divorce, you and your ex-spouse have likely said and done some hurtful things to each other that you can never forgive. However, you should not let that get in the way of taking care of your children. It’s best to keep those feelings to yourself because they don’t involve your children and focus on ensuring that they’re happy and healthy. Co-parenting is about their happiness, not yours.
2. Focus On Communication
Although it may seem impossible, it’s important that you have peaceful and effective communication with your ex-spouse when it comes to your children. Ask yourself how your behavior will affect your child and choose to conduct yourself with dignity, regardless of how the other person is acting. This doesn’t involve face-to-face conversations, but those over the phone or through text messages as well.
3. Work Together As A Team
As you worked with your partner before the divorce in taking care of your children, the same dedication should remain. Cooperation and communication are both important to the process, and consistency will help your children to flourish and thrive; creating stressful situations for them through arguing won’t help anyone and can even make things worse.
4. Enable Transitions and Visitation
Transporting children back and forth between homes can be confusing and stressful for them, so it should be your goal to make these changes as easy as possible for them. Remain positive when delivering your children to your ex’s residence and be sure to deliver them on time. Be sure to pack in advance so that everything isn’t rushed last minute. When your children return, be sure to give them space as they transition and establish a routine to help things feel “normal” for them again.
5. When Kids Refuse
There may be a few moments where children refuse to leave one parent in order to stay with another. It’s on your shoulders to not get upset about the situation. Speak to your child to figure out what the problem is and assume the responsibility of fixing those problems. It could be because you’re not paying your child enough attention or there is just a misunderstanding. Most importantly, you should speak with your ex about what may be going on in their home so that you can fix the problem together.
A divorce is one thing, but trying to help children feel comfortable about the situation is something else entirely. If you find yourself in such a situation and need help, be sure to speak to an attorney or family health professional to reduce the stress for everyone.