A divorce is a very stressful time for everyone — especially the children. No matter the reason for the divorce, you need to be able to effectively co-parent your children. However, this is easier said than done, as you may not have a good relationship with your spouse post-divorce. When you just cannot get along, the thought of working together as parents may seem impossible.
Still, you have to be able to parent your children, even if you simply do not like their other parent. The following are some things to keep in mind.
The Children Are Your Priority
The children are the most important factor in any co-parenting situation. Although it may be difficult, you have to think of the greater good when it comes to your children. Focus on your children as you try to get through your difficult feelings toward your former spouse. Know that your communication with your ex-spouse is only one small part of your day.
Above all, do not waste your time and energy on arguments, as those tend to have no useful outcome. Instead, focus your energy on coming up with a workable parenting plan you can both get on board with.
You Have to Communicate
When you have a child or children together, you will have to communicate with each other for a long period of time. Co-parenting is much easier when you can both communicate amicably. However, this is not always possible when situations are tense.
If you cannot get along well enough to speak face to face, you need to come up with other forms of communication you can use effectively. Emails and texts are the simplest ways to communicate if you just cannot speak to each other.
You can also use this time to soften your relationship. Your goal should be to get to a place where you are able to speak in person. When you email or text, try to incorporate some non-logistical points into the conversation.
For example, when you have the kids and your son scores at soccer practice, take a picture and send it to his other parent. Hopefully, your former spouse will reciprocate and send you little snips of their time together as well. These small gestures may lead to a better relationship over time.
Never Involve Your Kids in Drama
More than anything, you do not need to allow your children to get caught up in any adult situations. Do not attempt to pit your children against your former spouse. Despite everything, your kids love both of you. You should never do anything to diminish the relationship that your children have with their other parent, no matter what your opinions are.
You also do not need to allow your children to communicate with their other parent for you. Never have your children speak for you simply because you do not want to see or talk to your former spouse. This places them in the middle, which is not a place children should be.
Instead, allow your children to talk about their other parent and what they did while they were at his or her home. Let your children speak about how they feel about everything, but reserve your own opinion. If there is a problem, you can communicate with your former spouse privately.
As a co-parent, you play a tough but important role in the life of children. You only have a short amount of time with your kids, so you need to make that time as positive as possible. If you need help creating a co-parenting plan, please contact Ronald K. Smith for assistance.