Divorce can have a major impact on children, especially in situations of co-parenting or joint custody. As a parent, co-parenting after a separation or divorce is never easy, but it is the best way to ensure that your kids’ needs are met and enable them to retain close relationships with both parents. The quality of the relationship between co-parents can also have a strong influence on the mental and emotional well-being of children, and the incidence of anxiety and depression.
While joint custody arrangements can be exhausting, infuriating and fraught with stress, especially if you have a contentious relationship with your ex-partner, you need to focus on supporting your child in making shared decisions, for the sake of your kids’ well-being. Follow these guidelines to make the transition from divorce and the process of family restructuring and rebuilding easier for you and your children.
Tip number 1: Don’t involve your kids in your struggles
Children take time to fully accept their parents’ decisions, to file for a divorce or become separated; however, this does not mean that they should be kept in the dark. The more you hide the situation from them, the more they’ll feel like it’s their fault or start shutting you out and indulging in the wrong activities and habits. Children usually sense when there is something wrong in the family environment, so it’s best to provide reassurance and create a safe space for communication.
Another helpful point is to not hide away your feelings; instead, teach them to learn to express how to feel when someone is upset and understand what the other person is going through. Acknowledging your kids’ feelings also helps them feel safe and appreciated. Studies have shown significant and healthy acceptance in those whose parents took every feeling seriously, rather than those who were neglected or abandoned.
Tip number 2: Improve communication with your ex
Peaceful, consistent and purposeful communication is the essential key to achieving success in co-parenting. The whole idea of communication simply lies in mindset. Think about communication with your ex as having a higher purpose; for example, your child’s mental stability, before contacting your ex-partner; make your child the focal point of every conversation and resolve any conduct with dignity. The goal of successful communication is to have a conflict-free conversation without letting personal issues cloud your judgment of your child.
Some people choose to establish business relationships with their partners that are based on mutual gain. Since emotions and expectations don’t operate a business, all communication should be upfront and direct. You don’t need to like the people you do business with, but you can put negative feelings aside to conduct a successful and purposeful business.
Tip number 3: Identify the obstacles
One of the most significant barriers to effective co-parenting is negative emotions, such as anger, resentment, and jealousy. Allow yourself time to grieve the death of your marriage and get the help that you need to work through your emotions. Don’t deny or try to stuff down the way you are feeling; instead, acknowledge and recognize your emotions, but also realize that they can hamper you in your role of co-parenting after divorce. In the process, you can try to compartmentalize your feelings while you deal with them, for the sake of finding the best co-parenting solution for your children.