Co-parenting involves a post-divorce parenting agreement where both parents jointly participate in their children’s upbringing and any other activities involving them. For it to work, the ex-spouses should be committed to setting their differences aside and maintaining civility for their children’s benefit. A positive co-parenting relationship helps raise children with a sense of security and love. It eliminates the chances of stress that may arise from unhealthy co-parenting.
Since children learn the first model of what a relationship should look like from their parents, ensure they only see the productive, positive, and respectful part of your relationship regardless of your issues. Here are co-parenting tips for divorced parents.
1. Create a co-parenting plan
To effectively co-parent your children after divorce, consider creating a co-parenting plan as part of the divorce process. Your plan may include the children’s schooling and religious upbringing, healthcare, social media and internet access guidelines, vacation and holiday provisions, disciplinary measures, and a designated home base where they keep their belongings. Remember to include visitation schedules to avoid any misunderstandings. However, if one parent doesn’t return the child on time, before taking extreme measures, find out why.
2. Embrace communication for effective co-parenting
Finding an effective communication strategy that works for both of you enhances co-parenting. If you’re too emotional to have face-to-face communication, find other means to ensure your children’s welfare. Once you’ve gotten over the hurt, reevaluate the communication strategy and get back to talking terms as it sends a positive message to the children.
3. Hold brief periodic parental meetings
Organize brief periodic meetings to discuss your children’s well-being. Besides helping you get rid of any budding issues, regular meetings help you address your children’s needs and plan their future. Setting ground rules for the meetings will keep things on track and reduce the chances of accusations or defensiveness interrupting the meeting’s agenda.
4. Don’t speak ill of your co-parent
Avoid speaking ill of your co-parent or letting someone else do so in front of your kids. This is because doing so teaches children to be disrespectful. Additionally, badmouthing your co-parent in your child’s presence may make them feel insecure. Consider teaching your kids about respecting and loving your co-parent just as much as they do you. If you two can’t stand each other even when apart, the children may begin to lose their self-worth as they consider themselves a part of both of you.
5. Heal yourself first
Going through a divorce can be emotionally challenging, and if you don’t move on from it quick enough, you may not make a good co-parent. Besides self-reflecting and reevaluating your role as a parent, you can talk to a therapist to free yourself of the failed relationship baggage. This will make you happier and ensure that your intention and focus are all on successful co-parenting.
6. Your children’s well-being should come first
Keeping your children’s welfare first can be difficult, especially if the divorce is messy. Prioritizing your kids’ stability, security, and emotional safety should be your goal. It’s up to do whatever it takes to ensure that your children aren’t emotionally affected by the divorce aftermath.
Co-parenting isn’t easy. However, with the kids’ best interest at heart, foster a solid co-parenting relationship to ensure they grow healthy and happy.