You and your spouse have endured months of stress and now your divorce has finally gone through. Thank goodness! The problem though, is now that you and your spouse live apart, how do you raise your child/ren together? You both want what’s best for your children and to raise them together (hopefully amicably.)
It’s really important for parents to still be an active part of their children’s lives after a divorce. It might be really hard for you to communicate with your ex though if your marriage ended on bad terms. Keep on reading for some tips on how to co-parent as divorced parents.
Co-Parenting Tips For Divorced Parents
Keep things amicable
For the sake of your children, you and your ex need to keep things amicable. The last thing you feel like doing is being friendly with your ex, but you have to be for your kids. It might seem pointless, but your children will appreciate it. Don’t let your feelings get the best of you. If you feel anger towards your ex, rather vent to a friend or a family member, instead of fighting in front of your kids. Or try to find an appropriate time, when your kids are not around to speak to your ex. Nothing is worse than your children being stuck in the middle of you and your ex. Your children do not need to know how much you hate your ex. Remember your children love both you and your ex, so it can be really harmful to them to hear you speak negatively about your ex.
Try to work out a great schedule
When it comes to your kids, try to work out a schedule where you and your ex both get to spend quality time with your children. Find a schedule where everyone is happy. Some parents still keep in close contact with their children, by visiting them perhaps after school, or taking them to school in the mornings, or sharing a family meal together once a week with their ex and their kids. Or if you prefer the traditional every second-weekend thing, then keep it at that. You could even ask your kids when they would like to see your ex. Routine is important for children, so if you and your ex can get a good routine going with your children, that would be fantastic! If you can try as much as possible to keep your children’s schedules the same, with involvement from your ex.
Try to keep things positive
Parents.com shows that if your child doesn’t want to go to your ex, acknowledge their concerns, and instead of bad-mouthing your ex in front of your children, then try to be positive about your ex. Perhaps you could tell your little one, you understand how hard it must be for them, but you are sure that once they go to their father/mother they will have a great time. If your children don’t want to go, perhaps ask your ex if they could come to your house for a bit until your child feels comfortable going alone. You could also ask your children why they don’t want to go to the other parent. Perhaps they feel insecure or maybe they just miss their own things from their house. Like their own bed or toys. If that is the case, you could always pack their toys with them to take to your ex. Remember, you need to work together to help your children feel happy, secure and loved.
Talk to your children together
After a divorce, your kids will need constant reassurance that you both love them and that you both will always be there for them. It’s very important to show your children that you will never abandon them, both physically and emotionally. These chats might come up more than once. Remember, divorce is really hard on children and they need constant reassurance of their parent’s love.
Even though it might be hard to make co-parenting a success, you need to work together with your ex. Try to be positive about their parenting skills. Make sure your children know that your ex is trying their best to be a great dad/mom. Never bad mouth your ex in front of your children. For your children’s happiness, you need to be positive and respectful about your ex. Also commend your ex, if you can on things that they are doing well as a parent. If you can be supportive of your ex, your children will feel this and this will help your children feel secure. Remember, this is about what’s best for your kids and a toxic environment is the last thing that children need. If you and your ex are constantly fighting about the past or even the present, your children will feel stuck in the middle. Try to keep the past in the past and work together as a team to raise your children. Try thinking of it as a business relationship.
Try to keep communication open with your ex
If you can, try speaking to your ex regularly about your children and parenting. You can successfully co-parent if you keep on communicating with one another. If this is impossible, try to keep in contact via email or have “parenting meetings” with a third person present, to keep things amicable.
Respect your children’s time with the other parent
If your child/ren is with your ex, respect that time. When it comes to saying goodbye to your child/ren, don’t cry, or hang on them. This will only make your child/ren feel guilty. Be positive. If you are positive, your child/ren will feel positive. Try not to call your kid/s constantly either, or keep asking them when will they be home.
Lay down some ground rules
Chat to your ex about which rules you can agree upon for your kids. If you want your children to go to bed at a certain time, or not watch certain shows, work together to have the same rules. You don’t have to agree on everything, but try to find some rules that you can both agree upon for your children and stick to it. By doing this, your children will find some stability and they won’t play you up against each other.
If you are happy, your kids will be too.
Remember to look after yourself. If you need to see a therapist, to help you cope, or to give you advice, do so. If you can look after your own mental health, this will do wonders for your family. Children look to their parents for guidance. If you can be positive, your children will follow suit.
Co-parenting can be hard but it is possible. Remember that you want what’s best for your kids. If you and your spouse can work together to raise your children, then you can be sure that your children will grow into balanced and happy individuals, who feel loved and secure.
And isn’t that what we all want as parents, at the end of the day?