Parents who divorce are under a lot of stress and emotional turmoil, but it could just be as devastating for their kids. Perhaps you have that nagging thought at the back of your mind that your messy divorce will have a negative effect on your children—and those suspicions could be true.
According to an article on the Scientific American, high levels of parental conflict during and after divorce result in poorer adjustment in children. Therefore, dealing with exes positively after the divorce will likewise have a positive effect on children. With the right co-parenting approach, you won’t have to put your children in the middle of the conflict.
Communication is more important than ever.
It’s tempting to just cut your ex out of the picture and move on with your life, but it’s not a very good solution for your children. Kids need both their parents in their lives. To make it work, you need to communicate better both with your children and with your ex. Don’t keep your children in the dark and leave them to find out about the divorce when it’s time for either one of you to move out. Talk to them, make them understand the reason behind your separation, reassure them that it is not their fault and that they would not be abandoned by either of their parents. Explain to them what is bound to happen to you and your partner’s relationship, and remember to be mindful of how you talk and act toward each other.
Find co-parenting education and support.
Both you and your ex-spouse should be equally committed to co-parenting. That might require both of you to seek help to be better parents in the aftermath of the divorce. The first thing you should do is to educate yourselves about shared parenting and your children’s needs.
Fortunately, there are many programs and institutions like The Bridge Across that offer information on successfully dealing with exes in a relationship and co-parenting. Also, don’t be afraid to turn to your friends and family for support. They can help you deal with any difficulties you might experience along the way.
Don’t treat co-parenting like a competition.
Co-parenting doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with your ex. It only requires cooperation from the two of you to achieve the same goal, which is to raise your kids with as much love and support. It’s not a competition of who the best parent is and who the kids enjoy spending more time with. The focus should be on the children’s well-being at all times.
What Makes for Successful Co-Parenting After Divorce?, Psychology Today
Successful Co-parenting: 7 Steps for Divorced Parents, Metro Parent