Children who are learning how to live in two homes because of their parents’ divorce will look to those adults for stability. In some cases, these children will have the benefit of their parents being able to work as a true parenting team through co-parenting.
It isn’t always easy to co-parent, but it’s usually a good arrangement for the children. Both parents will have to take steps to make the situation as easy as possible. These five tips may help to take some of the stress out of co-parenting.
1. Remain flexible
You and your ex need to remain flexible so the children can get what they need. It might be necessary to switch parenting time or to make certain changes. Working as a team can make this easier.
2. Encourage relationships
Encourage your children to have relationships with people on both sides of the family. They might be worried that you won’t like them enjoying your ex or that side of the family, but you have to squash that fear by showing them you support those relationships.
3. Communicate directly
Direct, respectful communication between you and your ex is important when you’re co-parenting. Never try to use the children as messengers because messages may be misconstrued.
4. Leave the past alone
You can’t live in the past when you co-parent, so leave the issues that ended the marriage alone. Instead, focus on helping your kids adjust to the new way of life. It may help you to remember that even a terrible spouse can make a fantastic parent.
5. Focus on your own future
Resist the urge to try to find out what’s going on with your ex’s love life. Instead, focus on building your own future. The only time you should worry about your ex’s love life is if it’s putting the children in danger.
Parents should do what they can to help their children thrive despite the major life upheaval that comes with divorce. The parenting plan is one way they can do this. Remember to set this based on what the kids need right now. As time progresses, you can modify the plan to meet their new needs.