Are you recently separated or divorced with children? Are you struggling with parenting with an ex?
The end of a relationship, especially a marriage, can be tumultuous. When you have children in common, it can be much more difficult to transition to single status and move forward because you will still be co-parenting your children with him or her.
If you share children, you cannot completely cut all ties between you and your ex-spouse so that you can begin to heal. Instead, you must communicate and face this person frequently. While you may think it would easier for you, you cannot simply walk away. Instead, you must parent together while you are apart.
In many instances, you will be faced with the reality that your ex-spouse will begin a relationship with someone new and you may have to communicate with this new person concerning your children.
How you parent and communicate during this time of heightened emotions, and thereafter, can cause lasting scars on your children, who themselves are also trying to transition and cope with the reorganization of their family unit.
No Matter What Happened in the Marriage, you can Control the Divorce.
Obviously you cannot control the actions of your ex-spouse, but you can control your reactions and decisions moving forward. In a situation that often feels way out of control, the truth is you do have more control than what you think.
Don’t forget – divorce is hard. Co-parenting is hard. Be patient with the process, be compassionate towards your own personal healing as well your attempts at co-parenting. Perhaps pursue a new passion, vent and obtain advice from friends, and find a therapist to help you cope.
Some Things to Keep in Mind.
- Do not speak badly to your children about your ex-spouse or their relatives, as it will only cause immense harm to your children. Young children often identify self-worth and value through their parents, so they process your hatred of your ex-spouse onto themselves. Also, it is not appropriate.
- Do not use your child as a pawn or attempt to alienate them from your ex-spouse, as it will also cause immense harm to your children.
- Do not ignore your ex-spouse in front of your children, especially at school or events. This causes tension and embarrassment for children.
- Do not pressure your children to love you more or convince them to only wish to live with you. Realize your children will have two homes, no matter how much actual time you have with your children.
- Do not be unreasonable and drag previous and personal relationship issues into your new co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse.
Tips for More Effective Co-Parenting
- DO realize that working peacefully and collaboratively with your ex-spouse regarding your children will provide the best possible outcome and environment for your children.
- DO get into the habit of communicating frequently with your ex-spouse. Treat communication like a business meeting. Organize communication in the best way to relay information regarding your children easily to your ex-spouse.
- DO realize you are raising a child or children together with your ex-spouse. In most situations, children do best when both parents are actively involved in their lives. Respect your ex-spouse for no other reason than they are the parent of your children.
- DO try your best to build a compassionate and supportive co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse.
- DO work together in divorce mediation to create a co-parenting schedule that is in your children’s best interests that you will both follow, while also being flexible realizing that life happens.
Sticking to the above DO’s and DON’T’s will both help create a positive co-parenting relationship and re-insert control in your life and future of your children free of sadness and conflict.
Contact an attorney or divorce mediator at Jacobson Family Law today to help you create a co-parenting agreement so that you and your ex-spouse can co-parent effectively for your kids.