Divorce is tough on kids; yet, research reveals effective co-parenting can help divorced couples raise independent and confident kids, thereby helping the family navigate future trials and tribulations.
Conscious co-parenting can make your kids feel secure and assured of the love of both their parents, encouraging them to easily adjust to your marital split and the new living conditions.
The hardest part of a divorce is feeling forced to stay in touch with your ex, who is the other parent to your kids. Use the effective advice shared in this post to partner with your ex-spouse and raise happy and self-assured kids.
1) Focus on Your Kids’ Future
Interacting with your ex can be challenging after you have gone through the emotional rollercoaster of divorce. Yet, when it comes to co-parenting, you shouldn’t let your emotions dictate your behavior.
It is natural to feel upset when interacting with your ex; however, remember to keep your children’s interests as a motivation for you to co-parent with him/her.
If you are unable to get hold of your emotions, talk to a close friend, a therapist, or your divorce attorney, who make good listeners. In fact, when emotions are running high, it’s worth talking to a divorce lawyer who will not only offer legal advice pertaining to joint parenting but also support you emotionally during this trying period.
For instance, a divorce lawyer near Wheaton, IL is aware of the local Parenting Plan and Agreement Guidelines and can help divorced couples in Illinois work towards making critical co-parenting decisions, enabling them to stay focused on their children’s future.
Co-parenting is easy when you focus all your energy towards your children’s development.
2) Set Rules and Be Consistent
Create household routines and set acceptable and unacceptable behavioral guidelines for your young ones to help them adjust to life after the family split. Running a tight ship will also bring in a sense of security, predictability, and discipline, avoiding chaos in your young ones’ lives.
Work with your ex and agree on a schedule for their play, school work, meals, bedtime, and other chores and make sure you adhere to it. Thus, your kids know that the same schedule and behavioral rules will be followed regardless of where they live.
Furthermore, work with your ex to make important co-parenting decisions with respect to their medical and financial needs, education, and extracurricular activities.
Living with parents separately will expose your kids to two different environments; yet, creating a routine and being consistent with certain set rules and expectations will help them adjust to having two homes and loving both parents.
3) Keep Transitions Low-Key
Transitions are inevitable after divorce. Each departure and reunion is tough for kids, stirring a range of emotions in them.
Prepare your kids to leave for your ex’s house by talking to them about it in advance. Encourage them to pack items that are dear to them, such as a bedtime storybook, a soft toy, or a family photograph which can help reduce the tension.
Visitation refusal is another challenge faced by most co-parents. If your kids refuse to leave a parent and see the other, try to find the cause, be sensitive to their feelings, and work with your ex to overcome this issue.
When your kids return from your ex’s, maintain a low profile and stick to the routine, enabling them to adjust to the transition.
4) Beware of the Manipulative Child Behavior
Most divorced couples don’t want their kids to feel traumatized by the family split, causing them to give their young ones unwarranted leeway. Though it isn’t easy for kids to come to terms with their parent’s divorce, they are quick to gauge the situation and learn what bothers or pleases them.
These young adults are cleverer than you think and often use situations, such as divorce, to test boundaries and rules and manipulate their parents in order to get what they want.
For instance, if a parent has forbidden the kids from staying up late to watch a movie, they may approach the other parent for consent (knowing that he/she likes watching movies at night).
Similarly, if one of the parents has the tendency to give in to their requests with a little coaxing, kids may focus their energy on that parent to get what they desire.
All these are signs of manipulative behavior which, if not nipped in the bud, may lead to complex relationship issues between you and your ex-partner.
As parents, you should strive to maintain a united front. Resist the temptation of playing the fun or cool parent. This will not only encourage your young ones to show hostility towards the other parent but also give them the message that it is okay to manipulate situations in their favor. Make joint decisions with your ex-spouse and stick to them no matter what.
5) Have Open Dialogues with Your Ex
If you aren’t satisfied with your ex’s co-parenting endeavors, it is a good idea to talk to him/her about it.
Resist the urge to accuse or get into a heated argument with him/her. Instead, have an open conversation, stating the specific co-parenting issues that are hampering the kids’ development or affecting your relationship with them.
For instance, if your ex overindulges the kids by buying them expensive gifts every time they in his/her custody, talk to him/her about it. Speak with respect and neutrality, ask kid-focused questions, and invite suggestions to solve the problem.
You can say, “The kids have been enjoying their gifts. However, lately, I see them being casual with their belongings. Any ideas on how we can manage this careless behavior?”
Understand that you will have to interact with your ex throughout your kids’ growing years. Therefore, it is wise to train yourself to communicate with maturity, be flexible, and exhibit restraint in pressure situations.
After a divorce, the sheer thought of interacting and building an amicable relationship with your ex-spouse can seem impossible. Despite dissolving your marital relationship, you and your ex still share the critical responsibility of caring for your kids and making them feel loved and secure.
The valuable co-parenting advice shared in this post will help you make children your topmost priority after divorce, assuring them that they’re loved by both their parents.