Co-parenting can be tough, even for parents who ended their marriage on a good note.
Trying to find a schedule that works and sharing the same set of discipline ideas can be complicated. There is obviously a good reason why you and your ex got a divorce. And things that you couldn’t agree on before when it came to parenting, may still continue to present issues after your divorce.
Despite the fights and differences in opinion, you can still make a success of co-parenting.
Remember, your children are the most important thing, so putting disputes behind you will be beneficial for the emotional health of your kids.
Put hurt and anger away
This is probably one of the most important things you can do, but also one of the hardest. This can be especially true if your spouse was unfaithful in your marriage. Feelings of hurt, resentment, anger, and sadness will need to be held at bay when your children are around. If you feel these emotions, choose a time when your kids are not around to vent. But in front of your children try to keep your cool when it comes to your ex. Remember, your children love both you and your ex. Name-calling and shaming of your ex can cause severe hurt in your children.
If you need to talk about how you feel, see a therapist, or talk to a friend. Get your anger out in a healthy way, away from your children. Exercise is also a great way to get rid of negative energy.
Another thing to consider is that if your ex does something that infuriates you in front of your kids, you will need to keep your cool. Write your ex an email or call them when your children are not around. This will ensure that no fighting ensues while your children are around. Fighting in front of children can cause them huge amounts of anxiety.
Always remain child-focused. Think about your children’s feelings and do whatever you can to not bad mouth your ex in front of them.
Don’t put your children in the middle of your battles
You never want to bring up your issues with your ex in front of your children. These are your problems, not that of your children. You should never use your kids as messengers between parents or make them feel like they have to choose sides. Your children have a right to get to know their other parent and have a relationship with them without interference.
Make visits and transitions easier for your kids
Visiting a parent every other weekend can be a heavy burden for kids. They might feel guilty about leaving one parent to visit the other. Or they could feel guilty about the fun they had with one parent and not want to talk about it.
Besides this, you might even have to move homes or neighborhoods. This can be a stressful ordeal for your child. Their routines are muddled up, their safe space has taken away from them, and everything might be different. There are a few things that you and your ex can do to help your child cope with all the changes.
Remind your child of the visit
If your child is still young, remind them ahead of time that they will be visiting their other parent. You could do this the day before or two days before. This will prepare them for the visit.
Avoid lengthy goodbyes
When it’s time to say goodbye, give your child a quick hug and say something like “Have fun and I will see you later.” A positive send-off will help your child feel less anxiety.
Pack your child’s bag beforehand
By packing your child’s bag in advance, you can be certain they won’t miss anything. If your child is older, you can help them pack. By not missing anything, your child will have all they need for their visit and not want to come home to fetch a favorite stuffed teddy bear or their cell phone. Because By coming back home, it could make it harder for them to stay with their other parent.
What should you do if your child refuses to visit you?
If your child doesn’t want to visit you, communication is key. Talk to your child or your ex about the reasons why your child is refusing to see you. Is the child angry at you for the divorce? Your child might also feel bored at your house, or perhaps they don’t like it if you discipline them. Talk to your child and find out what could be the problem. Open communication is the most important thing at this stage. Always show love and patience towards your children.
It’s also important to not force your child to visit if they don’t want to. Give them their space and wait for them to feel ready.
Communicate with your ex
Open communication is crucial. Try talking to each other in a calm and reasonable way when it comes to your children. Always work together as a team when it comes to parenting. Even if you disagree, talking to each other with respect and kindness is key.
Try to be flexible
Sometimes when a parent cannot fulfill their visitation on a certain weekend, they may want to reschedule. If it is possible, try and be flexible. By working together you can help your child feel safe. At the same time though, canceling visits frequently is a bad idea. Stick to your word, and only cancel if you really have to. Children need stability and routine. By changing things up too often, your child will become stressed and feel uncertain.
Set boundaries together
As a team, you will need to set boundaries for your children together. This is essential for effective co-parenting. As mentioned before, children need a routine. For example, if one parent doesn’t agree with dating at the age of 13, see if there is a way that you can come to a compromise together as parents.
This will also show your child that you are working together as a team and they can’t play one parent against the other.
Some children might behave one way with one parent and a different way with the other parent. If you can both come up with rules that work for your child, stick to them together as a team. This will help your child feel secure and know exactly what is expected of them.
Always show love
One thing both parents will have in common is that they share their love for their children. Use this common ground to your advantage and work together to help your children feel loved. Divorce can be heartbreaking for children, but if they know that both parents love them and are present, they will thrive, no matter what.
See a therapist
If you find co-parenting challenging, see a qualified therapist. They can help give you tips and advice on how to handle each situation.
Co-Parenting has its challenges, but it can also be a great opportunity to support your children in a loving and positive way. Remember that your children and their emotional health are most important. Do whatever you can to make this part of their lives easier, and even a happy time.