5 Tips on Co-Parenting After a Divorce
A divorce brings major changes to the family dynamic. For children, the time following a divorce is one of uncertainty. Adjusting to the multiple changes can leave them feeling confused and anxious. How parents proceed with co-parenting is essential for creating a peaceful transition. Successful co-parenting is possible by implementing the following five tips:
1. Separate Your Feelings For Your Ex From Those For Your Child
How you feel about your ex is real and, most likely, still raw following the divorce. For successful co-parenting, it is crucial that you set aside feelings of animosity and dislike for your ex.
Co-parenting with someone you do not like remains a better option than parenting alone. Separating your feelings may seem easier said than done. Find outlets for your hurt and anger, such as seeing a therapist, working out, or spending time with friends. Remain child-focused and keep in check your emotions when it comes to co-parenting.
2. Do Not Place Your Child in the Middle
It is not uncommon — and far too easy — to communicate with your ex via your child. Placing your child in the middle can emotionally harm them as they love and are eager to please both parents.
Sharing negative thoughts about your ex before the child can also cause them much anguish. Hostile comments about the other parent may make the child feel as if they must choose sides. This is both unfair and intentionally damaging to your relationship with them.
3. Make Important Decisions Together
There are certain decisions involving your child that require the input of both parents. Such decisions typically involve:
- Medical care
- Financial needs
Working as a team on these and other key components of your child’s life is essential to their well-being. All co-parenting efforts must center on the child, and perhaps none are more important than their schooling, their health, their safety, and the financial needs of each.
Seeking input from your ex can ease your concerns about an important topic. For example, by sharing concerns about a child’s medical condition or school, the issue shows you both want what is best for your child.
4. Agree to Consistency
Nothing is more confusing to a child than a different set of rules for each parent. However, a knowledge of boundaries can help your child as they adjust to their new life.
Common topics that require consistency in a child’s life include:
- Schedule: A consistent schedule can help to keep everyone’s daily routine running more smoothly.
- Rules: From no late-night snacks to more complex rules, consistency among both households teaches the child what is acceptable at each home.
- Discipline: Maintaining consistency with discipline lets the child know that the same consequences for misbehavior exist with each parent.
Mixed signals from each parent can result in behavioral issues that exhaust everyone. It is unfair to expect your child to switch to different rules each time they visit the other parent. Varying bedtimes, rules regarding ice cream, or more serious issues can cause stress without consistency.
By agreeing to consistency, co-parenting stands a better chance of success for everyone.
The key component of all co-parenting is communication. Setting aside differences to co-parent is not always easy but vitally necessary for your child. Communicating about your child’s needs, activities, health, and more are more important than any past grudge or argument with your ex.
Miscommunication or a lack of communication can adversely affect your child. This is grossly unacceptable and can potentially affect child custody if the child suffers from neglect due to no parental communication.
Experts suggest the following tips for successful co-parenting communication:
- Use a business-like tone: Focus on the “business” of your child’s well-being
- Consider making requests: Approach the other parent with a request rather than a demand
- Listen: The foundation of all communication is listening to what the other parent is saying — or not saying
- Show restraint: Reign in feelings of anger and animosity before communicating with your ex
These are just a few tips for opening and easing the lines of communication. Remember, the focus must remain on what is best for your child rather than how you feel about your ex.
Successful Co-Parenting is Possible But Never Easy
Sharing custody is a balancing act tangled in a sea of emotions. The end of your marriage greatly affects your child from where they live to how they spend time with each parent.
The changes your child experiences are best managed with a positive co-parenting plan. It takes effort on the part of each parent. However, over time, the ability to co-parent can flow more smoothly. By implementing the five tips listed above, you are on your way to creating a positive childhood for your loved one.
When Co-Parenting Fails, Contact Besty A. Flescher, LLC
Divorce is never easy. Co-parenting with your ex may become impossible, resulting in a need to fight for full custody. Betsy A. Flescher, LLC can help you by evaluating your case for free.
Learning more about your options is an important first step in the custody process. Ultimately, the courts will determine what is in the best interest of the child. Building a strong case for why custody changes are necessary requires the skills of an experienced family law attorney.
At Betsy A. Flescher, LLC, we take great pride in our experience as Louisiana family law attorneys. We help guide parents through the legal process and manage the details of their case.
Caring and compassionate, our team understands the emotional dynamics of co-parenting. However, when such an effort develops into a potentially harmful situation, we help parents fight for their child.
It is impossible to predict or guarantee your case’s outcome; however, we work tirelessly to build the strongest case possible. If you seek to change your co-parenting situation, let us help you. You can contact us online or by calling 504-780-8232 today.