What Can New Co-Parents Do To Help Children After A Divorce?
Learning to co-parent with your ex-spouse or ex-partner may be the most difficult challenge of your life. But couples who meet this challenge are able to put the best interests of their children first.
Research has shown that kids whose parents were more positive about co-parenting after divorce had happier, more successful kids in the long run.
Five Things To Consider In Co-Parenting
Here are several important things to consider when co-parenting after divorce:
- Speak well of the other parent(s) — Speak well of the other parent(s) or at least don’t speak negatively. Do unto others is not just good as a golden rule for neighbors and friends, but it can also be a golden rule of co-parenting after divorce. Would you want your ex-spouse speaking poorly of you to your child?
- Encourage honesty — The last thing you should do is ask your child to lie to their other parent about something. The child has likely already been put in an awkward situation by having two households. Don’t give them something to hide, too. By encouraging honesty, you will also be helping them build good character.
- Facilitate communication — If your child wants to speak with his or her other parent when it’s your day or parenting time, don’t be offended. Instead, allow your child to speak with their absent parent anytime they wish. It’s okay to say no if it’s late at night, though, just as you would for any other phone or FaceTime call. You could even take a proactive approach and encourage the child to contact the other parent during your parenting time.
- Accept differences — You can expect and accept that there will be some differences when your child is at their other parent’s home. They will eat different foods, perhaps at a different time. There may be different rules about having devices at the table, for example, or having dinner in front of the television. While you and your former spouse should agree on some aspects of your child’s life, there will be differences. Accepting this can go a long way in calming your child’s fears about how you handle these variations.
- Establish routines — Children often have very little say in what happens in their day-to-day lives. But experts agree that consistency and predictability are keys for children in coping with adversity such as having divorced parents. You can assist them with predictability in creating consistent routines in their life such as eating dinner at the same time each night (or most of the time). Or have a consistent time and place where your child is always dropped off when it’s your turn for parenting time. Having some routines in place will give your child something to count on. They will know what to expect, which can be a blessing when their family has gone through a divorce.
Consultation For Mediation Or Family Law Issues
If you find you need assistance with co-parenting decisions or want legal guidance about setting up a formal agreement, speak with a caring attorney or skilled mediator. Law Office of Kristen L. Campbell, LLC, offers guidance in parenting time issues.
Attorney Kristen L. Campbell is also a skilled mediator with over 18 years of experience assisting clients with family matters. Call her office for a consultation at 513-895-0030. You can also send an email to reach her firm.